New Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) welterweight champion, Kamaru Usman has dedicated his history title to his daughter and the people of Auchi in Edo State, where he hails from, but records show that he also has American citizenship.
Usman became the first home-grown African fighter to win a UFC world title, when he decisioned the belt holder, Tyrone Woodley on Saturday, after which he admitted he was thrilled to achieve the feat, especially as it came against all permutations.
‘The Nigerian Nightmare,’ who is also a contestant in NCAA Division II Wrestling and Ultimate Fighter 21 tournament winner, is now based in Texas, USA, where he becase active in the sport seven years ago, 2012.
Usman was born in Benin City, to a father who was in the Nigerian army, but the family immigrated to United States when he was eight years old.
He started wrestling as a sophomore at Bowie High School, Arlington, Texas, then wrestled at William Penn University for one year, where he was an NAIA national qualifier.
He then transferred to University of Nebraska at Kearney, where he got NCAA Division II All-American honours all three years he was there, as he helped the school win their first overall team title in 2008.
He won the NCAA Division II national title in 2010 and was a member of Freestyle Wrestling University World Team in 2010.
Usman, whose brother, Mohammed, is also a mixed martial artist, used to be known as ‘Marty,’ until he adopted the nickname made popular by former world heavyweight interim champion, Samuel Peter and former United States National Football League (NFL) player, Christian Okoye.
For his big date in history last weekend, Usman entered the ring with his daughter, who he called his biggest inspiration and guide to glory, then stated afterwards that her presence gave him more determination and confidence to floor Woodley.
The 31-year-old Usman dominated long-reigning welterweight champ, Woodley, and extended his winning streak to 14, as he maintained his unbeaten record in the UFC.
He, however, revealed during the pre-match press conference, which he started off by greeting journalists in Arabic before switching to Pidgin, that he had fractured his foot and had been walking in a supportive boot.
He also disclosed that he is proud of his origin in Edo State, Nigeria, which he stressed his is proud of and equally glad to bring honour home to his people by becoming the first Africa to claim the UFC world title.
“I am proud of Edo State, I am proud of Auchi. This title is for my daughter and the people of Auchi in Edo State, Nigeria. I love you all.
“I thank you all for supporting me. I love my daughter, I love Auchi, I love Nigeria.
“I told them, we would do it, I told them we never fail. We have done it,” Usman enthused.