Kamaru Usman: Everything you need to know about him

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Kamarudeen Usman, popularly referred to as Kamaru Usman. He is also known as the Nigerian Nightmare, was born on May 11, 1987, and is a prominent American mixed martial artist with a wrestling background.

Kamaru Usman tops the UFC men’s welterweight rankings and 10th in the UFC men’s pound-for-pound rankings

His diverse background is noteworthy – born to a Muslim father and Christian mother, he identifies as Muslim. His family immigrated to the U.S. when he was eight.

The 36-year-old is currently competing in the UFC Middleweight division. He previously held the title of UFC Welterweight Champion and triumphed in The Ultimate Fighter 21 tournament. 

Kamaru Usman with his Welterweight championship belt

Kamaru Usman at a UFC event

Kamaru Usman’s Early Life

Kamaru Usman’s introduction to combat sports began with wrestling. The passion for wrestling marked his early years for grappling, and he honed his skills as a wrestler at the prestigious University of Nebraska at Kearney. 

This foundation in wrestling laid the groundwork for his future success in MMA.

Transition to MMA

After excelling in NCAA Division II wrestling, Usman shifted to mixed martial arts, joining the “Blackzilians” team in Florida. 

Transitioning from wrestling to a versatile skill set, he gained regional recognition with an undefeated streak. Dominance in Titan FC and LFA led to his acclaimed UFC debut, drawing attention from fans and promoters.

Kamaru Usman UFC Debut

In July 2015, Usman stepped onto the biggest stage in MMA – the UFC octagon. His debut against Hayder Hassan at “The Ultimate Fighter 21 Finale” was a statement. 

He secured a second-round submission victory. This marked the beginning of a remarkable journey within the UFC welterweight division.

Kamaru Usman and UFC Welterweight Championship 

Usman’s rise in welterweight showcased his dominant style, merging wrestling with striking and grappling skills. On his way to the top, he defeated top dogs like Sean Strickland, Tyron Woodley, and Coby Covington.

Usman’s pursuit of the UFC welterweight championship reached its zenith on March 2, 2019, at UFC 235. Facing the formidable Tyron Woodley, Usman delivered a masterclass performance, securing a unanimous decision victory. 

This triumph made him the first African-born fighter to claim a UFC title, a historic moment that resonated beyond the confines of the sport.

Rematches and Defenses

The Nigerian Nightmare’s reign as the welterweight kingpin lasted three years, with successful title defenses against notable names in the division. He successfully defended his title 5 consecutive times before losing it to Leon Edwards at UFC 278.

A rematch against Jorge Masvidal at UFC 251 showcased Usman’s adaptability and strategic insight as he secured another unanimous decision victory. This victory solidified his status as a dominant force in the welterweight division.

Kamaru Usman vs. Colby Covington

The clash between Usman and Colby Covington at UFC 245 stands out as one of the most anticipated and fiercely contested battles in recent UFC history.

Kamaru Usman with Burna Boy

Kamaru Usman with a Nigerian music star.

In a bout that showcased both fighters’ grit and determination, Usman emerged victorious via fifth-round TKO. This victory solidified his championship status and added another layer to his growing legacy.

Kamaru Usman vs. Gilbert Burns

In a showdown against his former teammate Gilbert Burns at UFC 258, Usman faced adversity early in the fight but displayed resilience and adaptability. 

A third-round TKO victory showcased his striking prowess and ability to overcome challenges and emerge victorious.

Kamaru Usman UFC Record

In 24 professional matches, Kamaru Usman boasts 20 victories, with nine by knockout, one by submission, and ten by decision.  He has lost four times — one by knockout, one by submission, and two by judges’ decisions.

He is currently on a three-match losing streak, the first time in his career, with the most recent against Khamzat Chimanev at UFC 294.

Conclusion

Kamaru Usman’s biography is a tale of triumph over adversity and resilience to pursue a glorious vision.

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He is the father of a 19-year-old girl named Samirah Usman. He is also the brother of Kash Usman and Mohammed Usman, the latter, a mixed martial artist.

From his early wrestling days in Nigeria to becoming the undisputed welterweight champion.

His journey embodies the essence of perseverance and skill in mixed martial arts.

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