Kamaru Usman

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Kamaru Usman
Kamaru Usman.jpg
Usman in May 2022
BornKamarudeen Usman[1]
(1987-05-11) May 11, 1987 (age 35)
Auchi, Nigeria
Nickname(s)The Nigerian Nightmare
NationalityNigerian
American
Height6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Weight170 lb (77 kg; 12 st 2 lb)
DivisionWelterweight
Reach76 in (193 cm)[2]
Fighting out ofFort Lauderdale, Florida, U.S.
TeamBlackzilians (2011–2017)
Kill Cliff FC (2017–2020, 2022–present)[3][4][5]
Onx Sports (2020–present)
TrainerJorge Santiago (grappling)[6]
Trevor Wittman (striking)[6]
RankBlack belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Jorge Santiago[7]
WrestlingNCAA Division II Wrestling[8]
Years active2010–2012 (freestyle wrestling)
2012–present (MMA)
Mixed martial arts record
Total22
Wins20
By knockout9
By submission1
By decision10
Losses2
By knockout1
By submission1
Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog
Medal record
Collegiate Wrestling
Representing the Nebraska–Kearney Lopers
NCAA Division II National Championships
NCAA logo.svg
Gold medal – first place 2010 Omaha 174 lbs
Silver medal – second place 2009 Houston 174 lbs
Bronze medal – third place 2008 Cedar Rapids 174 lbs

Kamarudeen Usman[1] (born May 11, 1987) is a Nigerian and American professional mixed martial artist, former freestyle wrestler and graduated folkstyle wrestler. He currently takes rest from a devastating head kick KO by Leon Edwards and wants to compete again in the welterweight division of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), where he is the former UFC Welterweight Champion and was also The Ultimate Fighter 21 tournament winner. As of November 14, 2022, he is #1 in the UFC men's welterweight rankings, and #4 in the UFC men's pound-for-pound rankings.[9]

As a freestyle wrestler, Usman primarily competed at 84 kilograms (185 lb), and was a 2010 U.S, University World Team Member.[10] Collegiately, he competed at 174 pounds (79 kg), and was the 2010 NCAA Division II national champion, a three–time NCAA Division II All-American, and a NAIA national qualifier.[11][12]

Background[edit]

Usman was born in Auchi, Nigeria.[13] His father was a major in the Nigerian Army and his mother was a teacher.[14][15][16] He has two brothers, Kashetu and Mohammed, the latter of whom is also a mixed martial artist and fellow The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) winner.[17] Usman had a modest upbringing during his childhood.[18] Usman's father Muhammed Nasiru Usman, who became a pharmacist in the United States, brought his family into the country when Usman was eight years old, immigrating to Dallas, Texas.[19]

Wrestling career[edit]

Usman started wrestling in his sophomore year in high school, at Bowie High School in Arlington, Texas. Because Usman's wrestling coach at the time had trouble pronouncing his first name Kamarudeen, he got the nickname "Marty" when he joined the team and it stuck with him during his amateur wrestling career.[20][21] After compiling a 53–3 record as a senior and placing third at the Texas state championships, Usman wrestled alongside Jon Jones at the senior national tournament before leaving for college.[22]

In college, Usman wrestled in Iowa at William Penn University for one year, where he was an NAIA national tournament qualifier in 2007, but was unable to attend the tournament due to a snowstorm; half of his team and his head coach, however, left early for the tournament without him, which frustrated Usman and influenced him to leave William Penn.[23] He later transferred to the University of Nebraska at Kearney (UNK), which previously tried to recruit him under advisement of then-UNK wrestler Tervel Dlagnev, and subsequently helped the Lopers win their first-ever team title in 2008.[23] Usman placed top three in the nation all three years he attended UNK and was a two-time national finalist.[24] 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.[25]

Shortly after his folkstyle 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 2012 Olympic team.[26][27] Despite making the U.S. University World Team in 2010, Usman was sidetracked by injuries and eventually abandoned his Olympic goal after failing to qualify for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials, turning his attention to mixed martial arts instead.[28][29] Former National Football League (NFL) star Christian Okoye, who has the nickname "The Nigerian Nightmare" trademarked, gave his blessing for Usman to use it.[30]

Mixed martial arts career[edit]

Professional MMA career[edit]

On 2011, Usman served as the wrestling coach for Team Miller in The Ultimate Fighter season fourteen.[31] After failing to qualify for the 2012 US Olympic Team Trials in freestyle wrestling, Usman made his professional MMA debut in November 2012.[32] He compiled a record of 5–1, competing for several regional promotions before trying out for The Ultimate Fighter in early 2015.[33][34]

The Ultimate Fighter[edit]

In February 2015, it was announced that Usman was one of the fighters selected to be on The Ultimate Fighter 21.[34]

In his TUF debut and quarterfinal bout of the bracket, Usman faced undefeated eventual Titan FC Welterweight Champion Michael Graves. He won the fight via majority decision.[35]

In the semifinals, Usman faced off against long-time veteran and former WSOF Welterweight Champion Steve Carl. He won the fight via unanimous decision and advanced to the finals.[36]

In the finals, Usman faced Hayder Hassan on July 12, 2015, at The Ultimate Fighter 21 Finale.[37] He won the bout via submission in the second round, thus winning a six-figure contract with the UFC.[38] He was also awarded the Performance of the Night award.[39]

Ultimate Fighting Championship[edit]

2015[edit]

In his official debut as a UFC athlete, Usman faced future champion Leon Edwards on December 19, 2015, at UFC on Fox 17.[40] He won the fight by unanimous decision.[41]

2016[edit]

Usman was expected to face two-time World Jiu-Jitsu Champion Sérgio Moraes on May 14, 2016, at UFC 198.[42] However, it was announced on May 1 that Usman had pulled out of the bout for undisclosed reasons and was replaced by promotional newcomer Luan Chagas.[43]

In his first bout of the year, Usman faced Alexander Yakovlev on July 23, 2016, at UFC on Fox 20.[44] He won the one-sided fight via unanimous decision after out-grappling Yakovlev.[45]

Usman faced TUF: Brazil 3 tournament winner Warlley Alves on November 19, 2016, at UFC Fight Night 100.[46] He won the match by unanimous decision for the third-straight time.[47]

2017[edit]

Usman faced former long-time KOTC Middleweight Champion Sean Strickland on April 8, 2017, at UFC 210.[48] He once again won the fight via unanimous decision.[49]

A rescheduled bout with a Sérgio Moraes on a seven-match unbeaten streak eventually took place on September 16, 2017, at UFC Fight Night 116.[50] Usman won the fight via one-punch knockout in the first round.[51]

Usman was scheduled to face Venator FC Welterweight Champion Emil Weber Meek on December 30, 2017, at UFC 219, however, Meek presented VISA problems and the pair was rescheduled for UFC Fight Night 124.[52][53] Usman won the fight by unanimous decision after out-wrestling his opponent.[54]

2018[edit]

Usman was expected to face Santiago Ponzinibbio on May 19, 2018, at UFC Fight Night 129.[55] However, on April 21, Ponzinibbio was pulled from the card due to injury[56] and replaced by ADCC Grappling World Champion and two-time UFC title challenger Demian Maia.[57] After denying all of Maia's fifteen attempts of takedowns and out-performing his opponent on the feet, Usman won the fight via unanimous decision.[58]

On August 18, it was announced that Usman would serve as a back-up for the UFC 228 main event match between long-time champion Tyron Woodley and undefeated challenger Darren Till.[59]

Usman faced former UFC Lightweight Champion Rafael dos Anjos on November 30, 2018, at The Ultimate Fighter 28 Finale.[60] He won the fight via unanimous decision.[61] This win earned him his second Performance of the Night award.[62]

UFC Welterweight Champion[edit]

2019[edit]

Riding a nine-fight winning streak in the UFC, Usman next faced UFC Welterweight Champion Tyron Woodley on March 2, 2019, in the co-main event at UFC 235.[63] He won the one-sided fight via unanimous decision after dominating Woodley for five rounds.[64]

Usman made his first title defense and faced long-time rival Colby Covington at UFC 245 on December 14, 2019.[65] Despite both athletes being mostly offensive wrestlers,[66] the fight did not include any grappling and contained high-paced offense in the striking instead.[67] After a fight often referred to as a five-round "slugfest", Usman was able to knockdown his opponent twice before finishing him with strikes in the fifth round to be declared the winner via technical knockout,[68] which set the record for the latest finish in UFC welterweight history.[69] This fight earned both participants the Fight of the Night award.[70]

2020[edit]

Usman was scheduled to defend his title for the second time against long-time teammate and two-time No-Gi Jiu-Jitsu World Champion Gilbert Burns on July 12, 2020 at UFC 251.[71] Both being originally from the same camp – Sanford MMA – Usman opted to train under Trevor Wittman heading into the fight.[6] On July 3, 2020, it was revealed that Burns tested positive for COVID-19 and he was subsequently removed from the card.[72] On July 5, 2020, it was reported that Jorge Masvidal stepped in on short notice to replace Burns.[73] Usman won via unanimous decision.[74] The card reportedly generated 1.3 million pay-per-view buys in the United States, the most since UFC 229 in October 2018.[75]

2021[edit]

Usman was once again scheduled to defend his title against BJJ World Champion Gilbert Burns, on December 12, 2020, at UFC 256.[76] However, on October 5, 2020, It was reported that Usman had pulled out from the bout, citing more time needed to recover from undisclosed injuries[77] and the bout was postponed for February 13, 2021, as the headliner for UFC 258.[78] Usman defended his title for the third time, as he won the fight via technical knockout in the third round, surpassing the record of the former UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St-Pierre for the largest win-streak in the division with thirteen.[79] This win earned him the Performance of the Night award.[80]

For his fifth title bout, Usman rematched against Jorge Masvidal for the UFC Welterweight Championship on April 24, 2021, at UFC 261 in Florida.[81] He successfully defended his title after knocking out Masvidal in the second round, becoming the first to do so in the UFC.[82] This win earned Usman his fourth Performance of the Night bonus award.[83]

Usman rematched Colby Covington for the UFC Welterweight Championship on November 6, 2021 at UFC 268.[84] Usman retained his championship, being declared the winner via unanimous decision.[85]

2022[edit]

Usman rematched Leon Edwards for his sixth title defense on August 20, 2022 at UFC 278.[86] Usman entered the fight with a -425 winning favour while odd-makers saw Leon as a +315 underdog.[87] Usman lost the fight and title via knockout 4 minutes into the fifth round, marking Usman's first loss inside the UFC.[88][89][90]

Personal life[edit]

Born to a Muslim father and Christian mother, Usman identifies as a Muslim.[91] His father, Muhammed Nasiru Usman, who had previous convictions in Tarrant County for theft and drunk driving,[92] was convicted in May 2010 of various offenses, including health care fraud and money laundering, related to a health care fraud scheme. He was sentenced to 15 years' imprisonment and ordered to pay $1,300,000 in restitution,[93] and was released from FCI Seagoville on March 16, 2021.[94][95]

Usman has a daughter who was born in 2014.[96]

Usman has a younger brother named Mohammed who was also in The Ultimate Fighter, in the Heavyweight division, winning the UFC contract and becoming the first two brothers to do so.[97][98]

Film career[edit]

Kamaru Usman was cast in the film Black Panther: Wakanda Forever; he played the role of a warrior.[99]

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

Folkstyle wrestling[edit]

Mixed martial arts[edit]

Mixed martial arts record[edit]

Professional record breakdown
22 matches 20 wins 2 losses
By knockout 9 1
By submission 1 1
By decision 10 0
Res. Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
Loss 20–2 Leon Edwards KO (head kick) UFC 278 August 20, 2022 5 4:04 Salt Lake City, Utah, United States Lost the UFC Welterweight Championship.
Win 20–1 Colby Covington Decision (unanimous) UFC 268 November 6, 2021 5 5:00 New York City, New York, United States Defended the UFC Welterweight Championship.
Win 19–1 Jorge Masvidal KO (punch) UFC 261 April 24, 2021 2 1:02 Jacksonville, Florida, United States Defended the UFC Welterweight Championship. Performance of the Night.
Win 18–1 Gilbert Burns TKO (punches) UFC 258 February 13, 2021 3 0:34 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States Defended the UFC Welterweight Championship. Performance of the Night.
Win 17–1 Jorge Masvidal Decision (unanimous) UFC 251 July 12, 2020 5 5:00 Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates Defended the UFC Welterweight Championship.
Win 16–1 Colby Covington TKO (punches) UFC 245 December 14, 2019 5 4:10 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States Defended the UFC Welterweight Championship. Fight of the Night.
Win 15–1 Tyron Woodley Decision (unanimous) UFC 235 March 2, 2019 5 5:00 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States Won the UFC Welterweight Championship.
Win 14–1 Rafael dos Anjos Decision (unanimous) The Ultimate Fighter: Heavy Hitters Finale November 30, 2018 5 5:00 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States Performance of the Night.
Win 13–1 Demian Maia Decision (unanimous) UFC Fight Night: Maia vs. Usman May 19, 2018 5 5:00 Santiago, Chile
Win 12–1 Emil Weber Meek Decision (unanimous) UFC Fight Night: Stephens vs. Choi January 14, 2018 3 5:00 St. Louis, Missouri, United States
Win 11–1 Sérgio Moraes KO (punch) UFC Fight Night: Rockhold vs. Branch September 16, 2017 1 2:48 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
Win 10–1 Sean Strickland Decision (unanimous) UFC 210 April 8, 2017 3 5:00 Buffalo, New York, United States
Win 9–1 Warlley Alves Decision (unanimous) UFC Fight Night: Bader vs. Nogueira 2 November 19, 2016 3 5:00 São Paulo, Brazil
Win 8–1 Alexander Yakovlev Decision (unanimous) UFC on Fox: Holm vs. Shevchenko July 23, 2016 3 5:00 Chicago, Illinois, United States Yakovlev was deducted one point in round 1 for grabbing the cage.
Win 7–1 Leon Edwards Decision (unanimous) UFC on Fox: dos Anjos vs. Cowboy 2 December 19, 2015 3 5:00 Orlando, Florida, United States
Win 6–1 Hayder Hassan Submission (arm-triangle choke) The Ultimate Fighter: American Top Team vs. Blackzilians Finale July 12, 2015 2 1:19 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States Won The Ultimate Fighter 21 Welterweight Tournament. Performance of the Night.
Win 5–1 Marcus Hicks TKO (punches) Legacy FC 33 July 18, 2014 2 5:00 Allen, Texas, United States
Win 4–1 Lenny Lovoto TKO (punches) Legacy FC 30 April 4, 2014 3 1:04 Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States
Win 3–1 Steven Rodriguez TKO (punches) Legacy FC 27 January 31, 2014 1 1:31 Houston, Texas, United States
Win 2–1 Rashid Abdullah TKO (punches) VFC 41 December 14, 2013 1 3:49 Ralston, Nebraska, United States Catchweight (180 lb) bout.
Loss 1–1 Jose Caceres Submission (rear-naked choke) CFA 11 May 24, 2013 1 3:47 Coral Gables, Florida, United States
Win 1–0 David Glover TKO (punches) RFA 5 November 30, 2012 2 4:50 Kearney, Nebraska, United States Welterweight debut.
Res. Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
Win 2–0 Steve Carl Decision (unanimous) The Ultimate Fighter: American Top Team vs. Blackzilians June 17, 2015 (airdate) 2 5:00 Boca Raton, Florida, United States The Ultimate Fighter 21 semifinals round.
Win 1–0 Michael Graves Decision (majority) April 22, 2015 (airdate) 2 5:00 The Ultimate Fighter 21 quarterfinals round.

[123]

Freestyle record[edit]

Senior Freestyle Matches
Res. Record Opponent Score Date Event Location
2012 US Olympic Trials Qualifier DNP at 84 kg
Loss 35–26 United States Evan Brown 1–3, 1–1 March 31 – April 1, 2012 2012 US Olympic Trials Qualifier

United States Cedar Falls, Iowa

Win 35–25 United States Ed Richmond Fall
Loss 34–25 United States Jake Herbert 2–5, 1–5
2012 Dave Schultz M. International DNP at 84 kg
Loss 34–24 India Narsingh Yadav 1–2, 1–5 February 2–4, 2012 2012 Dave Schultz Memorial International Open

United States Colorado Springs, Colorado

Win 34–23 United States Evan Brown 1–0, 1–0
Win 33–23 Bulgaria Valentin Sofiadi 2–0, 2–0
Win 32–23 Canada Alex Burk 5–2, 2–1
Loss 31–23 United States Deron Winn Fall
Win 31–22 United States Kurt Brenner 0–8, 6–4, 2–0
2011 US Olympic Trials Qualifier 4th at 84 kg
Loss 30–22 United States Bryce Hasseman 0–1, 0–1 December 3, 2011 2011 US Olympic Trials Qualifier

United States Las Vegas, Nevada

Win 30–21 United States Travis Paulson INJ
Win 29–21 United States James Yonushonis 4–2, 2–1
Win 28–21 United States Doug Umbehauer 1–1, 2–0
Win 27–21 United States Kurt Brenner 1–0, 5–2
Loss 26–21 United States Terry Madden 0–4, 1–4
Win 26–20 United States Pat Downey 1–1, 3–3, 4–0
2011 NYAC Holiday International Open DNP at 84 kg
Loss 25–20 United States Kirk Smith 1–1, 0–3 November 11–13, 2011 2011 NYAC Holiday International Open Tournament

United States New York City, New York

Win 25–19 United States Mike Tamillow 2–1, 3–0
Loss 24–19 Puerto Rico Jaime Espinal 0–4, 4–6
2011 Sunkist Kids International Open DNP at 84 kg
Loss 24–18 United States Mack Lewnes 2–2, 0–6 October 28–30, 2011 2011 Sunkist Kids International Open Tournament

United States Mesa, Arizona

Loss 24–17 United States Raymond Jordan 0–4, 1–3
Win 24–16 United States Erich Schmidtke 3–0, 1–2, 3–1
2011 NP Regionals 2nd place, silver medalist(s) at 96 kg
Loss 23–16 United States Luke Lofthouse 1–1, 4–1, 0–1 May 12–14, 2011 2011 Northern Plains Regional Championships

United States Waterloo, Iowa

Win 23–15 United States Mike Schmidt 3–3, 7–0, 7–2
2011 US University Nationals 7th at 84 kg
Win 22–15 United States Kevin Bailey TF 7–0, 6–0 April 20–23, 2011 2011 US University National Championships

United States Akron, Ohio

Loss 21–15 United States Max Thomusseit 3–1, 0–1, 0–1
Win 21–14 United States Ryan Loder 6–0, 1–3, 2–1
Win 20–14 United States Keith Witt TF 6–0, 6–0
Win 19–14 United States Ben Bennett 2–0, 6–0
Loss 18–14 United States Nick Heflin 0–1, 1–3
Win 18–13 United States Cole Shafer 6–0, 2–0
2011 US Open DNP at 84 kg
Loss 17–13 United States Raymond Jordan 0–2, 0–2 April 7–10, 2011 2011 US Open National Championships

United States Cleveland, Ohio

Loss 17–12 United States Bryce Hasseman 1–1, 0–3
Win 17–11 United States Evan Brown 0–1, 2–1, 1–0 2011 US Open National Championships – Qualifier
Win 16–11 United States Christopher Honeycutt 1–1, 2–3, 2–1
Win 15–11 United States Kaleb Young 3–2, 1–0
Loss 14–11 United States Nick Heflin 0–1, 4–1, 0–1
Win 14–10 United States Dwight Middleton TF 6–0, 6–0
2011 Dave Schultz M. International DNP at 84 kg
Loss 13–10 Puerto Rico Jaime Espinal Fall February 2–5, 2011 2011 Dave Schultz Memorial International Open

United States Colorado Springs, Colorado

Win 13–9 United States James Yonushonis TF 5–0, 8–2
Loss 12–9 Japan Shinya Matsumoto 2–4, 1–4
Win 12–8 United States Jake Landals 5–0, 7–0
Win 11–8 United States James Reynolds 4–1, 7–0
2010 NYAC International Open DNP at 84 kg
Loss 10–8 United States Raymond Jordan Fall November 20–21, 2010 2010 NYAC International Open Tournament

United States New York City, New York

Win 10–7 United States Jason Lapham 1–0, 3–0
Win 9–7 United States Robert Isley 2–1, 4–2
Loss 8–7 United States Keith Gavin 1–0, 1–2, 0–2
Win 8–6 Ukraine Vitaliy Horodnytskyy 2–0, 2–1
2010 University World Championships 8th at 84 kg
Loss 7–6 Lithuania Giedrius Morkis Fall October 30, 2010 2010 University World Championships

Italy Torino, Italy

Loss 7–5 Moldova Piotr Ianulov 0–6
Win 7–4 Canada Alex Burk 9–2
2010 US University World Team Trials 5th at 74 kg
Loss 6–4 United States Adam Hall 2–0, 0–1, 2–4 May 28–29, 2010 2010 US University World Team Trials

United States Colorado Springs, Colorado

Win 6–3 United States Albert White 2–1, 2–0
Loss 5–3 United States Jon Reader 0–4, 1–5
Win 5–2 United States John Paul O`Connor 0–3, 4–3, 5–0
Win 4–2 United States Matt Ballweg 5–1, 6–0
2010 US Open DNP at 74 kg
Loss 3–2 United States David Bonin 1–2, 4–0, 3–3 April 22–24, 2010 2010 US Open National Championships

United States Cleveland, Ohio

Loss 3–1 United States Travis Paulson 3–1, 0–1, 0–6
Win 3–0 United States Derek Peperas INJ 2010 US Open National Championships – Qualifier
Win 2–0 United States David Foxen TF 6–0, 7–0
Win 1–0 United States Michael Mitchell 3–5, 3–2, 6–0

NCAA record[edit]

NCAA Division II Championships Matches
Res. Record Opponent Score Date Event
2010 NCAA (DII) Championships 1st place, gold medalist(s) at 174 lbs
Win 11–2 Luke Rynish 5–4 March 13, 2010 2010 NCAA Division II Wrestling Championships
Win 10–2 Christopher Barrick 6–5
Win 9–2 Aaron Denson 2–0
Win 8–2 Ben Becker 9–2
2009 NCAA (DII) Championships 2nd place, silver medalist(s) at 174 lbs
Loss 7–2 Brett Hunter 2–3 March 14, 2009 2009 NCAA Division II Wrestling Championships
Win 7–1 Ross Taplin 2–0
Win 6–1 Jarret Hall 4–2
Win 5–1 Luke Rynish 8–5
2008 NCAA (DII) Championships 3rd place, bronze medalist(s) at 174 lbs
Win 4–1 Josh Shields 3–2 March 15, 2008 2008 NCAA Division II Wrestling Championships
Win 3–1 Chris Gibbs 4–1
Loss 2–1 Albert Miles 2–6
Win 2–0 Tyler Tubbs SV–1 7–5
Win 1–0 Chris Gibbs MD 10–0

Pay-per-view bouts[edit]

No. Event Fight Date Venue City PPV buys
1. UFC 251 Usman vs. Masvidal 12 July 2020 Flash Forum Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates 1,300,000[75]
2. UFC 261 Usman vs. Masvidal 2 24 April 2021 VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena Jacksonville, Florida, U.S. 700,000[124]
3. UFC 268 Usman vs. Covington 2 6 November 2021 Madison Square Garden New York City, U.S. 700,000[125]
4. UFC 278 Usman vs. Edwards 2 August 20, 2022 Vivint Arena Salt Lake City, United States 360,000[126]
Total sales 3,060,000

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]

Achievements
Preceded by 12th UFC Welterweight Champion
March 2, 2019 – August 20, 2022
Succeeded by