A Nigerian-born fighter, Kamaru Usman, has become the first African to win an Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) title.
The fighter, famous as the “Nigerian Nightmare”, won the Mixed-Martial Arts (MMA) bout against American fighter, Tyron Woodley, and dominated the Las Vegas contest for the welterweight title.
The biggest competition in MMA, fighters in the UFC combine boxing, kickboxing, jiu-jitsu, wrestling and other disciplines while fighting in an octagonal cage.
The 31-year-old Usman expanded his winning streak to 14; maintaining his unbeaten record in the UFC in a stunning performance to dominate long-reigning welterweight champion, Woodley.
In a statement released about the UCF 235 scorecard, the UCF’s website stated that “Usman did what every athlete hopes to do – deliver his best performance when the pressure is at its highest. Usman left no questions about his title-worthiness.”
Meanwhile, Usman who held a press conference after his match disclosed he had been walking around in a supportive boot all week due to a fracture he suffered in his foot.
Greeting journalists in Arabic before switching to Pidgin, the champion remarked, “Nigeria, I have told them, we would do it, I told them we never fail. And we have done it today.”
Telling the BBC World Service’s Sportsworld that he is proud of his nickname, the Nigerian Nightmare – a nickname he shares with other champions like Christian Okoye, the former Kansas City Chiefs American Football and Samuel Peter, the former professional boxer, he said “this is what I was destined for.”
Usman who left Nigerian for the US twenty-three years ago started wrestling at high school in Texas and had been a top prospect throughout college. He was also a former winner of the Ultimate Fighter TV show.
“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 stated.
The UFC’s price is very coveted. The competition was bought by the Fertita brothers for $2m in 2001; and later sold to a group of firms for $4bn in 2016, according to Forbes business magazine.