TNT Sports Reload - Episode 11Sep 26
Kamaru Usman is a former UFC welterweight champion who has previously sat atop the pound-for-pound rankings as one of the most dominant fighters in the history of the promotion.
Prior to losing against Leon Edwards at UFC 278, the 35-year-old had never lost in the UFC, making five successful defences of his 170lb strap to extend his record in the promotion to an incredible 15-0.
Only current featherweight king Alexander Volkanovski and former lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov were able to match Usman’s win percentage (minimum 10 fights), before Edwards shocked the world to snatch the 170lb belt from his grasp in brutal fashion in Salt Lake City last August.
Born in Auchi, Nigeria, Usman emigrated to the United States with his family as an eight-year-old, settling in Dallas, Texas during his college years.
A talented athlete, Usman developed a passion for wrestling and excelled in the college system, eventually winning the NCAA Division 2 national championships.
However, when his dreams of making the 2012 US Olympic team failed to materialise, Usman turned to MMA and quickly demonstrated the same aptitude for combat that he did in wrestling.
His big break in the UFC came after entering the promotion through The Ultimate Fighter reality series, fighting his way through to the finale where he defeated Hayder Hassan by submission to secure a UFC contract.
From there, Usman did not look back, winning each of his next 14 bouts in increasingly emphatic fashion on his way to becoming a true great of the UFC.
He won the belt by defeating former champion Tyron Woodley after a one-sided points decision at UFC 235, going on to stop bitter rival Colby Covington in his first defence of the 170lb strap at UFC 245 in December 2019.
A UFC 251 decision win over another fierce rival, Jorge Masvidal, was the filling in a knockout sandwich as Gilbert Burns was stopped shortly into the third round at UFC 258.
Usman then produced the most viral knockout win of his career as he rematched Masvidal at UFC 261, becoming the first man to stop the former street fighter with a hellacious right-hand cruise rocket on the chin.
Usman’s final successful defence of his title saw him shut out Covington for the second time in his championship reign as he secured a decision win at UFC 268 before Edwards became the new king of the welterweight division with his victory in Utah.
Outside camp, he lives in Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Florida.
Kamaru Usman: Record
Kamaru Usman has one of the most impressive ledgers of any fighter in the UFC today, with 20 wins and just two losses over the course of his MMA career.
Prior to losing against Edwards, his only defeat came in just his second professional contest, losing to Jose Caceres by submission in the first round while competing under the Championship Fighting Alliance banner, a regional promotion in Miami.
Usman had the longest win streak of any active fighter in the UFC and also had the opportunity to draw level with Anderson Silva’s legendary record of 16 consecutive wins when he faced Edwards at UFC 278.
Despite his most recent loss, Usman remains a true great, having beaten the best of the best of his generation, including two wins apiece against Colby Covington and Jorge Masvidal, plus victories against the likes of Rafael dos Anjos, Tyron Woodley, Demian Maia and Leon Edwards.
Kamaru Usman: Next fight
Kamaru Usman will face Leon Edwards in a trilogy fight at UFC 286 in London at The O2 on Saturday 18 March after the Briton promised the "Nigerian Nightmare" following their latest meeting in Salt Lake City that the pair could settle their rivalry, with their head-to-head record currently at one win apiece.
Kamaru Usman: Knockouts
Usman entered the UFC as a wrestler with very basic striking ability – although the 35-year-old has always carried power in both hands.
Over the years, he has developed significantly into one of the most well-rounded fighters on the roster, making great strides in his striking development first under the guidance of Henri Hooft at Sanford MMA and then with Trevor Wittman at ONX Sports.
He has four wins by knockout in the UFC, picking up his first against Sergio Moraes in September 2017 before a two-year gap to his stoppage win over Colby Covington at UFC 245.
Usman’s UFC 261 KO of Jorge Masvidal is inarguably the best of his career, delivering a vicious right hand across the chops of his title rival that knocked “Gamebred” out cold for the first time in the UFC.
Usman also has a stoppage win over former team-mate Gilbert Burns, which came during the third round of their entertaining UFC 258 showdown.
Kamaru Usman: Height
Usman is an average height for a welterweight competitor, standing at 6ft tall.
He has a decent reach for his height though thanks to his long limbs, listed at 76in.
Kamaru Usman: Weight
Usman is a pure welterweight and has never fought outside the 170lb class in the UFC.
However, he has hinted at a potential showdown with former light-heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz in the future – a move that could see him jump 35lb in weight.