Many countries have created a UFC champion, but Nigeria is the only one to create so many champions in such a short span of time. Currently, the four active Nigerian fighters in the UFC have a combined record of 21-1 in the organization. Here’s a brief look at the Nigerians who are dominating the UFC.
Born in Nigeria, Israel Adesanya had a lengthy kickboxing career before he transitioned into MMA. However, he quickly made a name for himself with his confident striking and Matrix-esque defensive skills. He’s also a charismatic guy on the mic too, and he gained many fans whenever he made a meme on social media or simply breakdanced into the octagon.
Adesanya started his MMA career by taking advantage of his kickboxing skills, as he won his first 11 fights all by knockout. The UFC took notice of him and signed him in early 2018.
From there, he went on a tear through the organization, racking up win after win. However, because he was a great kickboxer, many fans thought that he’d lose to the first wrestler that he fought.
However, Adesanya knocked out Derek Brunson, who’s a great wrestler, in the very first round. This showed everyone that Adesanya was ready, and in less than two years after joining the UFC, Adesanya knocked out Robert Whittaker and became the middleweight champion of the world.
What’s next for Adesanya is clear, as he stated it in his post-fight interview. He wants to fight Paulo Costa next and he wants to do something for Marvel Studios. Adesanya is a big fan of Marvel and Chris Hemsworth was in attendance when Adesanya knocked Whittaker out. It’s entirely possible that Adesanya’s dream of collaborating with Marvel may come true.
Unlike Adesanya, Kamaru Usman is one of the most powerful wrestlers in the UFC. Although Usman suffered a single loss in his early MMA career, he’s never lost ever since he joined the UFC, and he’s currently on a 10 fight win streak. Usman’s climb to the top also wasn’t as fast as Adesanya’s, but Usman defeated Tyron Woodley and became the welterweight champion in early 2019.
Usman is also a more reserved person than Adesanya, and he largely lets his work in the octagon speak for itself. Usman’s next fight is a long-awaited match between him and Colby Covington. Usman and Covington are both very similar fighters in terms of how they fight, so this is a fight that fans have been thinking about for a long time.
If Usman beats Covington, then the next contender will be the winner of Nate Diaz vs. Jorge Masvidal.
One of the newer additions to the UFC roster, Sodiq Yusuff quickly made a name for himself by knocking out two of his first three opponents. Time will tell how he’ll perform as he faces tougher competition, but so far he’s shown that he’s a well-rounded fighter.
Because of his low ranking, there are many fights that the UFC can give him at featherweight. Like Usman, Yusuff has only one loss on his record and it wasn’t in the UFC. Yusuff is currently 10-1 in his MMA career.
He’s the elephant in the room, as his UFC record is only 1-1 which isn’t nearly as impressive as the records of the other Nigerians fighters in the UFC. However, Kennedy Nzechukwu has shown that he could be great in the future. He certainly has the physique to be a menace in the heavyweight division.
His record outside the UFC is also pretty decent, as he’s overall 7-1 in his career. The UFC will likely give him a low-ranked heavyweight to fight next to see where he really stands in the organization.