Kamaru Usman

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Kamaru Usman
Kamaru Usman at UFC 245 Media Day Staredowns.png
Kamaru Usman in 2019
BornKamarudeen Usman
(1987-05-11) May 11, 1987 (age 33)
Auchi, Nigeria
Other namesThe Nigerian Nightmare
NationalityNigerian and American
Height6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Weight170 lb (77 kg; 12 st)
Reach76 in (193 cm)[1]
Fighting out ofFort Lauderdale, Florida, U.S.
TeamSanford MMA[2]
TrainerJorge Santiago (grappling)[3]
Trevor Wittman (striking)[3]
RankBlack belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Jorge Santiago[4]
WrestlingNCAA Division II Wrestling[5]
Years active2012–present
Mixed martial arts record
By knockout7
By submission1
By decision9
By submission1
Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog

Kamarudeen Usman (born May 11, 1987) is a Nigerian American mixed martial artist who competes in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), where he is the current UFC Welterweight Champion. Usman is also The Ultimate Fighter 21 tournament winner. As of July 14, 2020, he is #5 in the UFC men's pound-for-pound rankings [6]


Usman was born in Auchi, Nigeria.[7] His father was in the Nigerian Army and his mother was a teacher.[8][9] He has two brothers, Kashetu and Mohammed, of whom the former is a Doctor of Pharmacy and the latter is a mixed martial artist.[9][10] Usman and his family immigrated to the United States when he was 8 years old.[11] He 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.[12][13] After compiling a 53-3 record in high school and placing third at the Texas state championships, Usman wrestled alongside Jon Jones at the senior national tournament before leaving for college.[14]

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, had left early for the tournament without him, which frustrated Usman and influenced him to leave William Penn.[15] He later transferred to the University of Nebraska at Kearney (UNK), which had 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.[15] Usman earned NCAA Division II All-American honors all three years he attended UNK, and was a two-time national finalist.[16] He became the NCAA Division II national champion at 174 lbs in 2010, finishing his season with a 44-1 record.[17] Additionally, Usman was a University World Team member in freestyle wrestling in 2010.[18] Former National Football League (NFL) star Christian Okoye, who has the nickname "The Nigerian Nightmare" trademarked, gave his blessing for Usman to use it.[19]

Mixed martial arts career

Professional MMA career

Usman made his professional MMA debut in November 2012. He compiled a record of 5-1, competing for several regional promotions before trying out for The Ultimate Fighter in early 2015. [20][21]

The Ultimate Fighter

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

In his first fight on the show, Usman faced Michael Graves. He won the fight via majority decision.[22]

In the semifinals, Usman faced off against former WSOF Welterweight Champion Steve Carl. He won the fight via unanimous decision and advanced to the finals.[23]

In the finals, Usman faced Hayder Hassan on July 12, 2015, at The Ultimate Fighter 21 Finale.[24] He won the bout via submission in the second round, thus winning a six-figure contract with the UFC.[25] He was also awarded a Performance of the Night bonus.[26]

Ultimate Fighting Championship


Usman faced Leon Edwards on December 19, 2015, at UFC on Fox 17.[27] He won the fight by unanimous decision.[28]


Usman was expected to face Sérgio Moraes on May 14, 2016, at UFC 198.[29] However, Usman was replaced on the card for undisclosed reasons by promotional newcomer Luan Chagas.[30]

Usman next faced Alexander Yakovlev on July 23, 2016, at UFC on Fox 20.[31] He won the one-sided fight via unanimous decision.[32]

Usman faced Warlley Alves on November 19, 2016, at UFC Fight Night 100.[33] He won the fight via unanimous decision.[34]


Usman faced Sean Strickland on April 8, 2017, at UFC 210.[35] He won the fight via unanimous decision.[36]

A rescheduled bout with Sérgio Moraes eventually took place on September 16, 2017, at UFC Fight Night 116.[37] Usman won the fight via knockout in the first round.[38]

Usman was scheduled to face Emil Weber Meek on December 30, 2017, at UFC 219, but the fight was rescheduled for UFC Fight Night 124.[39][40] He won the fight by unanimous decision.


Usman was expected to face Santiago Ponzinibbio on May 19, 2018, at UFC Fight Night 129.[41] However, on April 21, Ponzinibbio was pulled from the card due to injury[42] and replaced by Demian Maia.[43] Usman won the fight via unanimous decision.[44]

Usman faced Rafael dos Anjos on November 30, 2018, at The Ultimate Fighter 28 Finale.[45] He won the fight via unanimous decision.[46] This win earned him the Performance of the Night award.[47]

UFC Welterweight Champion


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.[48] He won the fight via unanimous decision to become the new UFC Welterweight Champion.[49]

Usman made his first title defense and faced Colby Covington at UFC 245 on December 14, 2019.[50] He was victorious via fifth round technical knockout.[51] This fight earned him the Fight of the Night award.[52]


Usman was scheduled to defend his title for the second time against Gilbert Burns on July 12, 2020 at UFC 251.[53] Both being originally from the same camp – Sanford MMA – Usman opted to train under Trevor Wittman heading into the fight.[3] On July 3, 2020, it was revealed that Burns tested positive for COVID-19, and he was subsequently removed from the card.[54] On July 5, 2020, it was reported that Jorge Masvidal had stepped in on short notice and served as a replacement for Burns.[55] Usman won the fight via unanimous decision.[56]

Personal life

Kamaru and his wife have a daughter, Samirah (born 2014).[57]

Championships and accomplishments

Mixed martial arts record

Professional record breakdown
18 matches 17 wins 1 loss
By knockout 7 0
By submission 1 1
By decision 9 0
Res. Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
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
Win 7–1 Leon Edwards Decision (unanimous) UFC on Fox: dos Anjos vs. Cerrone 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 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 Coconut Creek, 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.


NCAA record

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

Event Fight Date Venue City PPV buys
UFC 251 Usman vs. Masvidal 12 July 2020 Flash Forum Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates 1,300,000[61]

See also


  1. ^ "Usman - Official UFC Fighter Profile". UFC.com. Retrieved February 5, 2019.
  2. ^ Ollie Carlson (December 13, 2019). "Hard Knocks 365 rebrands to Sanford MMA with sponsorship from Sanford Health". thebodylockmma.com.
  3. ^ a b c Brett Okamoto (June 24, 2020). "Kamaru Usman changes camp ahead of title defense vs. Gilbert Burns". espn.com.
  4. ^ @marc_raimondi (March 8, 2019). ""New UFC champ Kamaru Usman has been awarded his Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt by longtime coach @SantiagoMMA (...)"" (Tweet). Retrieved June 1, 2019 – via Twitter.
  5. ^ Guy Portman (November 29, 2018). "5 Things You Might Not Know About Kamaru Usman". Sherdog.com.
  6. ^ "Rankings | UFC". www.ufc.com. Retrieved 2020-07-14.
  7. ^ Fight Night Santiago: Kamaru Usman - Made in Nigeria, retrieved 2019-10-06
  8. ^ Harris, Scott. "A Morality Play for Our Time: Usman vs. Covington Is More Than Mere Grudge Match". Bleacher Report. Retrieved 2020-04-03.
  9. ^ a b JRE MMA Show #59 with Kamaru Usman, retrieved July 11, 2020
  10. ^ Nolan King (December 12, 2019). "Rising from humble beginnings, Kamaru Usman has inspired brother Mohammed". mmajunkie.com.
  11. ^ "Being the backup fighter: Inside Kamaru Usman's UFC 228 weight cut". ESPN.com. 2018-09-12. Retrieved 2020-07-17.
  12. ^ "Kamarudeen ) Usman - Wrestling". University of Nebraska - Kearney Athletics.
  13. ^ JRE MMA Show #59 with Kamaru Usman, retrieved 2019-10-06
  14. ^ "Kamaru Usman: Building The Beast (Feat. Jon Jones, Rashad Evans, Mom & Dad)". www.flocombat.com. Archived from the original on 2019-03-06. Retrieved 2019-03-03.
  15. ^ a b Gray, Timothy (July 10, 2020). "Recalling Kamaru Usman's time with the UNK wrestling team ahead of his main event at UFC Fight Island". Lincoln Journal-Star. Lincoln, Nebraska. Retrieved July 11, 2020.
  16. ^ a b c "Match of the Day". Team USA. Retrieved 2020-07-13.
  17. ^ "2010 Div II Wrestling Championships Brackets" (PDF). National Wrestling Coaches Association. Retrieved 2020-07-19.
  18. ^ "Interview with RFA fighter, NCAA wrestling champ, and TUF 14 coach Usman". On The Mat. 2012-11-30. Retrieved 2020-07-17.
  19. ^ Bembry, Jerry (2019-03-01). "Kamaru Usman on Tyron Woodley: 'I will push all the right buttons until I break him'". The Undefeated. Retrieved 2019-03-03.
  20. ^ Sherdog.com. "Kamaru "The Nigerian Nightmare" Usman MMA Stats, Pictures, News, Videos, Biography - Sherdog.com". Sherdog. Retrieved 2020-06-29.
  21. ^ a b Marc Raimondi (2015-02-28). "TUF 21 features American Top Team vs. Blackzilians with $500K on the line". mmafighting.com. Retrieved 2015-02-28.
  22. ^ Mike Bohn (2015-04-22). "Episode No. 1 recap: 'The Ultimate Fighter 21: ATT vs. Blackzilians'". mmajunkie.com. Retrieved 2015-04-22.
  23. ^ Mike Bohn (2015-06-17). "Episode No. 9 recap: 'The Ultimate Fighter 21: ATT vs. Blackzilians'". mmajunkie.com. Retrieved 2015-06-17.
  24. ^ Dana Becker (2015-07-09). "The Ultimate Fighter 21 Finale card all set, Four TUF Fighters in action". fightline.com. Retrieved 2015-07-09.
  25. ^ a b Matt Erickson (2015-07-12). "TUF 21 Finale results: Kamaru Usman taps Hayder Hassan to win 'TUF 21' crown". mmajunkie.com. Retrieved 2015-07-12.
  26. ^ Mike Sloan (2015-07-12). "'TUF 21' Finale Bonuses: Thompson, Usman, Masvidal, Samman nab $50K". sherdog.com. Retrieved 2015-07-12.
  27. ^ Staff (2015-09-01). "Leon Edwards vs. Kamaru Usman added to UFC on FOX 17 in Orlando". mmajunkie.com. Retrieved 2015-09-01.
  28. ^ John Morgan (2015-12-19). "UFC on FOX 17 results: Kamaru Usman grinds out Leon Edwards". mmajunkie.com. Retrieved 2015-12-19.
  29. ^ Guilherme Cruz (2016-03-01). "Sergio Moraes vs. Kamaru Usman added to UFC event in Brazil". mmafighting.com. Retrieved 2016-03-01.
  30. ^ Staff (2016-05-01). "Kamaru Usman out of UFC 198 bout with Sergio Moraes". mmajunkie.com. Retrieved 2016-05-01.
  31. ^ Chris Sosa (2016-06-03). "'Nigerian Nightmare' lands spot for UFC event at United Center". redeyechicago.com. Retrieved 2016-06-07.
  32. ^ Steven Marrocco (2016-07-23). "UFC on FOX 20 results: Kamaru Usman dominates Alexander Yakovlev in grappling heavy affair". mmajunkie.com. Retrieved 2016-07-23.
  33. ^ Guilherme Cruz (2016-10-04). "UFC Fight Night 100 gets Warlley Alves vs. Kamaru Usman". mmafighting.com. Retrieved 2015-10-04.
  34. ^ Steven Marrocco (2016-11-19). "UFC Fight Night 100 results: Kamaru Usman dominates Warlley Alves for wide decision win". mmajunkie.com. Retrieved 2016-11-19.
  35. ^ Staff (2017-02-14). "Sean Strickland vs. Kamaru Usman added to UFC 210 in Buffalo". mmajunkie.com. Retrieved 2017-02-14.
  36. ^ Steven Marrocco (2017-04-08). "UFC 210 results: Kamaru Usman dominates Sean Strickland, still perfect in UFC". mmajunkie.com. Retrieved 2017-04-08.
  37. ^ David Tees (2017-07-23). "Multiple fights added To UFC Fight Night: Pittsburgh". fansided.com. Retrieved 2017-07-23.
  38. ^ "UFC-Pittsburgh results: Kamaru Usman right hand proves problematic for Sergio Moraes". MMAjunkie. 2017-09-17. Retrieved 2017-09-17.
  39. ^ DNA, MMA. "TUF 21 winnaar Kamaru Usman treft "Valhalla Army" tijdens UFC 219". mmadna.nl. Retrieved 2017-10-20.
  40. ^ Staff (2017-12-14). "Kamaru Usman vs. Emil Meek rescheduled for UFC Fight Night 124 in St. Louis". mmajunkie.com. Retrieved 2017-12-14.
  41. ^ Ariel Helwani (2018-03-23). "Santiago Ponzinibbio vs. Kamaru Usman scheduled for UFC Chile main event". mmafighting.com. Retrieved 2018-03-23.
  42. ^ "UFC Chile main, co-main events fall apart with Santiago Ponzinibbio, Volkan Oezdemir out". MMAjunkie. 2018-04-22. Retrieved 2018-04-22.
  43. ^ Raphael Marinho (2018-04-26). "Ultimate announces Demian Maia as substitute for Ponzinibbio at UFC Chile" (in Portuguese). sportv.globo.com. Retrieved 2018-04-26.
  44. ^ "UFC Fight Night 129 results: Kamaru Usman denies Demian Maia takedowns, cruises to decision win". MMAjunkie. 2018-05-20. Retrieved 2018-05-20.
  45. ^ Raphael Marinho (2018-09-12). "UFC plans Dos Anjos vs. Kamaru Usman as TUF 28 Finale Main Fight" (in Portuguese). sportv.globo.com. Retrieved 2018-09-13.
  46. ^ "TUF 28 Finale results: Kamaru Usman relentless, stakes title claim with shutdown of Rafael dos Anjos". MMAjunkie. 2018-12-01. Retrieved 2018-12-01.
  47. ^ a b "TUF 28 Finale Bonuses! Benavidez's TKO Leads $50K Winners". MMAmania.com. Retrieved 2018-12-01.
  48. ^ Tristen Critchfield (2019-01-06). "Tyron Woodley, Kamaru Usman to clash for welterweight championship at UFC 235". sherdog.com. Retrieved 2019-01-07.
  49. ^ a b "UFC 235 results: Kamaru Usman blanks Tyron Woodley, takes belt in one-sided affair". MMA Junkie. 2019-03-03. Retrieved 2019-03-04.
  50. ^ "Kamaru Usman to face Colby Covington at UFC 245". MMAFighting.com. September 27, 2019. Retrieved September 27, 2019.
  51. ^ "Kamaru Usman vs. Colby Covington full fight video highlights". MMAFighting.com. December 15, 2019. Retrieved December 15, 2019.
  52. ^ a b Fernando Quiles Jr. (2019-12-15). "UFC 245 Bonuses, Live Gate, & Attendance Revealed". mmanews.com. Retrieved 2019-12-15.
  53. ^ Farah Hannoun (June 9, 2020). "Kamaru Usman vs. Gilbert Burns headlines UFC 251 on 'Fight Island' in Abu Dhabi". MMAFighting.com. Retrieved June 9, 2020.
  54. ^ "Gilbert Burns tests positive for COVID-19, out of UFC 251 headliner vs. Kamaru Usman". MMA Junkie. 2020-07-04. Retrieved 2020-07-04.
  55. ^ "Kamaru Usman opens as 3-1 favorite in UFC 251 title defense vs. Jorge Masvidal". MMA Junkie. 2020-07-05. Retrieved 2020-07-06.
  56. ^ Martin, Damon (2020-07-12). "Kamaru Usman dominates Jorge Masvidal with suffocating performance in UFC 251 main event". MMAFighting.com. Retrieved 2020-07-12.
  57. ^ @USMAN84kg (July 29, 2018). "My little princess is 4 years old today Smiling face with heart-shaped eyes 👼🏽. Woooow where did 4 years go!!" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  58. ^ Mike Sloan (2015-07-12). "'TUF 21' Finale Bonuses: Thompson, Usman, Masvidal, Samman nab $50K". sherdog.com. Retrieved 2015-07-12.
  59. ^ "MMA Junkie's 'Fight of the Month' for December: A slugfest between wrestlers". mmajunkie.com. January 3, 2020.
  60. ^ Sherdog.com. "Kamaru". Sherdog. Retrieved 2018-12-01.
  61. ^ Mike Coppinger (2020-07-13). "Sources: UFC 251 generates around 1.3 million PPV buys, most since 2018". theathletic.com. Retrieved 2020-07-14.

External links

Preceded by
Tyron Woodley
12th UFC Welterweight Champion
March 2, 2019 – Present