Gilbert Burns has his eyes on the competition in the UFC’s welterweight division, and said that England’s Leon Edwards has the skills needed to dethrone Kamaru Usman in what he’s calling a “very close fight.”

Speaking to Fighters Only, Burns broke down Edwards’ skills as he paid tribute to the Birmingham-based fighter and suggested the Brit had the tools to present a lot of problems for reigning welterweight champion and pound-for-pound No. 1 Usman in their expected title clash later this summer.

“I think Leon Edwards is a threat for Kamaru. Very, very good striker, very long, very tall, southpaw,” he began.

“He has very good striking – I think the striking is where he shines the most – but I see that he’s improving so much as a fighter. He has a very, very good team – I respect his team a lot. There’s a lot of great talents coming out of his team.

“I think he’s a complete fighter. Very good wrestling and grappling. And he’s been in there with Kamaru. After that (fight) he got a nine or 10 win streak. And I think he’s very dangerous.

“He doesn’t get a lot of credit like he’s supposed to. He’s kind of a little bit underrated, but I know he’s very good, and he’s going to be one of the biggest problems for Kamaru right now. The guy’s very hungry, he’s very good, and I see a very close fight.”

When pushed to offer a prediction for their mooted matchup, Burns sat on the fence a little, but suggested that Edwards has the ability to potentially dethrone Usman and, in the process, derail Burns’ own plans to face “The Nigerian Nightmare” in a title rematch.

“I don’t see a clear winner. I see a little bit of advantage to Kamaru just from being in that spot so many times with that pressure and everything. But I see a fight that’s going to be very, very close,” he said.

“It’s gonna be very hard to predict. I believe Leon Edwards has the weapons. He does have what it takes to become a champion. But Kamaru has been doing great things.

“I think it’s going to be a very close fight, but possibly Leon getting the win is going to pour the water on all my plans, because if he does beat Usman they’re going to have a trilogy, a rematch.

“I do believe Leon Edwards has the chance to do that, you know? It’s gonna be a super-close fight.”

Gilbert Burns is an ambassador for Love Hemp.