History will be made in the early hours of Sunday, February 14, 2021, as 33-year-old Nigerian-American professional mixed martial artist, Kamarudeen Usman, popularly known as “The Nigerian Nightmare” competes against 34-year-old fellow professional mixed martial artist, Brazil’s Gilbert Alexander Pontes Burns popularly known as ‘Durinho’, in the Welterweight division of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), at the UFC APEX Center in Las Vegas, USA. 

The fight scheduled for Saturday, February 13, 2021, rolling into the early hours of Sunday, February 14, 2021, for the UK fans of the sport, will see one of UFC 2019’s best fighters currently ranked #1 and Black belt ranker in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, Kamaru, take on three-time World Champion, UFC ranked #3 and World Cup gold medalist, Burns, in a fight that promises to be a global show-stopper.

The exceptional and formidable UFC Welterweight Champion and the Ultimate Fighter 21 tournament winner; with statistics as at July 14, 2020, putting him at #5 in the UFC men’s Pound-for-Pound rankings; has fought in 18 matches in the Mixed Martial Arts; won 17 (of which 7 were by knockouts, 1 by submission and 9 by decision) and lost just one. His opponent, Gilbert Burns, on the other hand, has won 19 matches (of which 8 were by submission, 6 knockouts and 5 by decision) and lost three.

Being the first-ever Nigerian-born champion in UFC history, the Ultimate Fighter 21 tournament winner, has a long line of accomplishments in the NCAA where he won the NCAA Division II Wrestling Championship (174 lbs, in 2010) and secured a triple year win in the NCAA Division II Wrestling All-American (174 lbs) from 2008 to 2010. With two successful title defences, one-time Fight of the Night, latest finish in UFC Welterweight history and tied for most consecutive wins in welterweight division (12), the ‘Nigerian Nightmare’ will surely have earned the bragging rights for a sport in which he has excelled in to be a favourite in this superbly highly-anticipated showdown; and should he win this fight, it will be the longest ever win-streak in the Welterweight division.


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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