Everything you need to know about UFC welterweight Kamaru Usman, who features in the main event at UFC294 with a welterweight contest against Khamzat Chimaev.
|Born:||11th May, 1987|
|Birthplace:||Auchi, Edo, Nigeria|
|Nickname:||The Nigerian Nightmare|
|Next Fight:||Khamzat Chimaev (Saturday 21st October, 2023)|
Usman was born in Nigeria, but relocated to the United States with his family when he was eight years old.
After becoming a qualified pharmacist, Usman's father Muhammed took his family to Dallas, Texas where Kamaru discovered wrestling as a sophomore at high school.
Usman compiled a 53–3 record as a senior and placed third at the Texas State Championships, and wrestled at the senior national tournament before leaving for college.
In college, Usman wrestled in Iowa at William Penn University for one year before transferring to the University of Nebraska at Kearney, where he helped his college win their first-ever team title in 2008.
Usman placed top three in the nation all three years he attended UNK and was a two-time national finalist. He became the NCAA Division II national champion at 174 pounds in 2010, finishing the season with a 44–1 record and 30 straight wins.
Usman then turned his attention to freestyle wrestling and became a resident of the United States Olympic Training Center, with hopes of making the 2012 Olympic team, however, sidetracked by injuries he eventually abandoned his Olympic goal after failing to qualify for the 2012 Olympic Trials, and turned his attention to mixed martial arts instead.
Former NFL star Christian Okoye, who has the nickname "The Nigerian Nightmare" trademarked, gave his blessing for Usman to use it.
In 2011, Usman served as the wrestling coach for Team Miller in The Ultimate Fighter season fourteen. After failing to qualify for the 2012 US Olympic Team, Usman made his professional MMA debut in November 2012, compiling a record of 5–1 while competing for several regional promotions before trying out for The Ultimate Fighter in early 2015.
In February 2015, it was announced that Usman was one of the fighters selected to be on The Ultimate Fighter 21 and he made the most of his opportunity by seeing off some top opponents to reach The Ultimate Fighter 21 Finale.
Usman faced Hayder Hassan in the decider and won the bout via submission in the second round, thus winning a six-figure contract with the UFC. He was also awarded the Performance of the Night award.
Making his debut in 2015, Usman faced future champion Leon Edwards and won the fight by unanimous decision.
In his first bout the following year, Usman faced Alexander Yakovlev and his wrestling skills came to the fore as he won the one-sided fight via unanimous decision after out-grappling Yakovlev.
Usman then faced The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil 3 tournament winner Warlley Alves at UFC Fight Night 100, winning the match by unanimous decision for the third-straight time.
He followed up that success against former long-time KOTC Middleweight Champion Sean Strickland at UFC 210 and once again won the fight via unanimous decision.
A rescheduled bout with Sergio Moraes eventually took place at UFC Fight Night 116, but this time wrestling specialist Usman won the fight via a one-punch knockout in the first round.
Usman's wrestling prowess was again on show against Welterweight Champion Emil Weber Meek at UFC 219, as he won the fight by unanimous decision after out-wrestling his opponent.
On a nine-fight winning streak in the UFC, Usman next faced UFC Welterweight Champion Tyron Woodley in the co-main event at UFC 235, where he won the one-sided fight via unanimous decision.
Usman made his first title defence against long-time rival Colby Covington at UFC 245 and was able to knock down his opponent twice and was declared the winner via technical knockout.
For his fifth title bout, undefeated Usman rematched against Jorge Masvidal for the UFC Welterweight Championship at UFC 261 in Florida. He successfully defended his title after knocking out Masvidal in the second round, becoming the first to do so in the UFC.
Usman's winning run was finally ended by Leon Edwards in a rematch of their 2015 encounter, losing the fight and title via knockout late in the fifth round, marking his first loss inside the UFC. A third fight between Usman and Edwards took place at UFC 286 for the UFC Welterweight Championship, where Usman lost the bout via majority decision.
Usman will return to the Octagon for the first time since losing to Edwards at UFC 286, where he will face Khamzat Chimaev.
A win for either fighter could set up a potential world title fight in the first few months of 2024, and Chimaev will feel like he can take advantage of Usman's losing run.
Another defeat for Usman could spell the end of his career in the UFC at the highest level, and Chimaev will be desperate to finally face Edwards after their first bout was cancelled on several occasions.
Usman's net worth was reported to be around $3million in 2023.
UFC 294 will be broadcast in the UK by TNT Sports.
Jorge Santiago is Usman's grappling coach, while Trevor Wittman takes care of things on the boxing side.