However, this hasn’t deterred the fighters who’re making both a name and money in it. One of them is Nigerian, Kamaru Usman, who was born in Auchi in Edo State and is known as the “Nigerian Nightmare”.
Upon moving to Texas with his family at the age of five, Usman started wrestling – which he used to get through college by representing his school in competitions. After college, he had a burning desire for something major, and so he chose MMA. It was a natural progression for him as he put to use the wrestling skills he had perfected over the years.
When he eventually got on The Ultimate Fighter Season 21, a show run by the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), Usman impressed in his performances and fought his way to victory in the finale, winning not just $300000 (N94400000) but also a UFC contract.
With his determination and hard work, the 29-year-old broke into the UFC’s welterweight top 10 two years after his contract – making him the only Nigerian in the welterweight rankings. Out of the 13 fights he’s been in so far, he has lost only one.
Currently ranked number 16, Usman wants to work with other African mixed martial artists to make MMA popular in Africa. In terms of talent, he believes that there’s so much potential to tap from the continent.
Knowing that his success in MMA will motivate other Africans to follow suit, Usman is focused on getting to the top. KweseESPN quotes him as saying:
“As an athlete and a human being, I understand that I cannot do the sport forever. So, in the next couple of years, I want to be the champion of the world and defend the title as many times as I choose.”
And we’re certainly here for that, anytime, any day.