UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman isn’t just flying the flag for Nigeria in the UFC’s octagon, he’s also putting boots on the ground in his homeland to offer up-and-coming fighters the chance to compete.
Usman has risen through the ranks of the UFC, winning The Ultimate Fighter, then tearing through the competition to eventually become the undisputed welterweight champion.
Now ranked as the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the UFC, Usman is a bonafide standard-bearer for MMA in Nigeria, and Africa, alongside fellow UFC champion Israel Adesanya (Nigeria/New Zealand) and Francis Ngannou (Cameroon).
Now “The Nigerian Nightmare” is looking to use his star power to help develop the sport in Nigeria.
Usman has established a series of MMA events in Nigeria called “Face Off Fight Night,” and held its second show at The Eko Hotels and Suites Convention Center in Lagos last month.
FOFN 2 featured a nine-fight pro-MMA card, which played to a crowd of more than 800 fans, and attracted a clutch of Nigerian A-list celebrities, with the show also broadcast live on a host of TV channels across Nigeria and other African nations.
Usman stated that the growth of the sport in Nigeria will see MMA eventually surpass soccer as the most popular sport in the country, and he hopes his promotion will help achieve that growth in the months and years ahead.
“This is going to be bigger than football,” he stated.
“We will be having people from various countries come to watch this event. It is already changing lives. These fighters will be paid for their efforts. This is an opportunity for them to showcase their talents.”