Nigerian Usman Becomes First African UFC Champion

Kamaru Usman from Auchi, Edo State, has become the first African fighter to win a Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) title.

Usman known as Nigerian Nightmare won the mixed-martial arts (MMA) bout against American Tyron Woodley in a contest dominated by him in Las Vegas to clinch the welterweight title.

The UFC is the biggest competition in MMA and  it is a combination of boxing, kickboxing, jiu-jitsu, wrestling and other disciplines while fighting in an octagonal cage.

Usman, 31, produced the performance of his career to dominate long-reigning welterweight champion Woodley.

He extended his winning streak to 14 and maintained his unbeaten record in the UFC.

In his post-match press conference in which he greeted his audience in Arabic and Nigerian Pidgin, Usman reportedly revealed that before the match, he had fractured his foot and had been walking around in a supportive boot all week.

“Nigeria, I have told them, we would do it, I told them we never fail. And we have done it today,” he said in Pidgin.

Usman left  for Arlington, Texas as a young child when his family migrated to the US and 23 years later, he is proud of his nickname, the Nigerian Nightmare.

He, however, invited to his match two other Nigerian professional sportsmen  with the the same moniker, the duo of former professional boxer, Samuel Peter and the former Kansas City Chiefs American Football, Christian Okoye.

Usman, a former winner of the Ultimate Fighter TV show, began wrestling at high school in Texas and was a top prospect throughout college.

“It was kind of time to make a switch and not just be a wrestler any more, but to be a fighter and to go and make a living for not just myself but my family as well,” he told BBC.

Athletes like Usman have been switching over to UFC from other disciplines as the competition experiences a phenomenal rise in popularity.

Post Author: Tayo Olanipekun