Kamaru Usman, crowned UFC Welterweight Division 13-time champion, after defeating Gilbert Burns.
Photo credit: Jeff Bottari / Zuffa LLC

Defending and newly crowned world champion of the UFC’s Welterweight showdown, Nigerian-American Kamaru Usman is expected in Nigeria after his gobsmacked win at the just concluded martial arts Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) in the Welterweight division at the UFC APEX Center in Las Vegas, USA.

Kamaru Usman proved once again that he’s the best welterweight on the planet in a jaw-dropping performance in the UFC main event where he faced a former teammate, Gilbert Burns in what wasn’t the ideal scenario in friendship, showing there are no friends in the octagon. Usman once again proved his myrtle when he got opponent Burns on the ground and followed up with such a punishing barrage of strikes, that the referee Herb Dean, had no choice but to stop the contest with the end coming at just 34 seconds into the third round.

According to award-winning martial artiste: ‘This one was a tough one, very very tough one. It was a very, very tough one. First and foremost, you cannot discredit what Gilbert Burns has done in this division. We started together. He showed it tonight. But I said it, I’m the varsity guy. My fight IQ is different. I’m a whole other savage. From start to finish, I’m a whole other savage and he saw that tonight.”

The champion struts away after knocking Burns out, seconds into the 3rd round.
Credit: Jeff Bottari / Zuffa LLC

After the fight ended, 33-year-old Usman embraced Burns, who had tears running down his face as he suffered a loss in his first attempt at becoming a UFC champion. Usman says reflectively: ‘When you step into my cage, we have to go to work. There were no friends in there. No friends at all. I am the best on the planet for a reason. You need to put some respect on my name.” The defending champion and family man through and through who doesn’t like to be away from his daughter Samirah, the centre of his being, said ‘I’m coming home soon baby’.

In winning this fight, the first-ever Nigerian-born champion in UFC has dispatched yet another top contender while cementing his spot with thirteen straight wins, as the undisputed UFC welterweight champion; making history as the longest ever holder of a win-streak in the Welterweight division.

13-time UFC Welterweight Division champion, Kamaru Usman
Credit: Jeff Bottari / Zuffa LLC
Credit: Jeff Bottari / Zuffa LLC


Kamarudeen Usman, simply known as Kamaru Usman was born on the 11th of May 1987 in Auchi, Edo State, Nigeria, to a father who was in the Nigerian Army and a mother who was a teacher. Kamaru grew up with two brothers, Kashetu and Mohammed, of whom the former is a Doctor of Pharmacy and the latter, a mixed martial artist in Benin City.

Kamaru and his family immigrated to the United States when he was 8 years old and started wrestling in his sophomore year in high school, at Bowie High School in Arlington, Texas. When Kamaru’s wrestling coach at the time had trouble pronouncing his first name Kamarudeen, he got the nickname “Marty” which stuck when he joined the team during his amateur wrestling career. Kamaru Usman attended William Penn University for one year and later transferred to the University of Nebraska at Kearney (UNK), which had previously tried to recruit him under the advisement of then-UNK wrestler, Tervel Dlagnev and subsequently helped the Lopers win their first-ever team title in 2008.

In 2010, Kamaru became the NCAA Division II national champion at 174 pounds, finishing his season with a 44-1 record. Shortly after his folkstyle, (a form of wrestling practised by men at the college and university level in the United States) career was over, Usman turned his attention to freestyle wrestling and became a resident of the United States Olympic Training Center, with hopes of making the ’12 Olympic team. Despite making the US University World Team in 2010, Usman was sidetracked by injuries and eventually abandoned his Olympic goal, turning his attention to mixed martial arts instead. Former National Football League (NFL) star Christian Okoye, who had the nickname “The Nigerian Nightmare” trademarked, gave his blessing for Usman to use it. 

Kamaru and his wife have a daughter; Samirah who was born in 2014.

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