‘I Want to Be That Role Model’- Kamaru Usman Opens Up on Being an Inspiration to the Continent of Africa

Published 04/25/2021, 8:51 AM EDT
LAS VEGAS, NV – JANUARY 16: UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman interacts with the media during the UFC 246 Ultimate Media Day at UFC APEX on January 16, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)


UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman retained his undisputed title with a massive second-round KO win over rival Jorge Masvidal. ‘The Nigerian Nightmare’ landed a picturesque right hand that sent Masvidal to the canvas with follow-up shots that put him out. In 50 professional fights, this was the first time Masvidal was cleanly concussed and at the biggest stage no less.

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Kamaru Usman’s stock is sure to reach a new height after his dominant display over such a fan-favorite fighter. What’s more, he’s managed to integrate high-level striking into his arsenal after already possessing lethal offensive and defensive wrestling. He’s unbeaten in the UFC with an active 14-fight win streak and is three wins away from beating Anderson Silva’s record.

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Kamaru Usman: Chartering new territories

Kamaru Usman spoke to the media following his statement KO win over ‘Gamebred’ that captured everyone’s attention. Chiefly, a reporter asked Usman to elaborate on the fact that he was serving as an inspiration for people in Africa. Kamaru Usman takes pride in the fact that he was the first-ever UFC champion from Africa and representing Nigeria.

NEW YORK, NY – NOVEMBER 01: UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman poses on stage during the UFC 245 press conference at the Hulu Theatre at Madison Square Garden on November 1, 2019 in New York, New York. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

“It meant a tremendous amount because like I said, growing up you don’t see, I don’t see role models like myself. That’s what I want to be, I want to be that role model to motivate everyone from Nigeria from Morocco from Cameroon, all the way down to South Africa. I want to motivate them and let them know that this can be done. This one was extremely satisfying for me tonight.”

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Usman will be looking to continue his momentum forward and hopefully bring a UFC pay-per-view event to Africa. Francis Ngannou and Israel Adesanya have joined the ranks with him as African-born champion and a show would be a huge deal. The UFC is constantly looking to expand into new markets, and Africa certainly shows potential.

As Kamaru Usman continues to rack up title defenses, his profile within the sport will grow and so will his reach. Moreover, his fighting style has become more fan-friendly over the years and he’s begun coming into his own.

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Darryl Pinto

1478 articles

Darryl Pinto is a senior MMA writer at EssentiallySports. He is currently pursuing his graduate degree in Mass Media (with a specialization in Journalism) out of Xavier’s College and has a year's experience in his current role. Darryl specializes in predictions, reporting, and covering UFC events live.

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