“Never DREAMT of this” – Kamaru Usman shares his inspiring story of growing up in Nigeria to becoming the UFC champion

UFC Welterweight champion talks about his upbringing and his life in Nigeria and his incredible rise to the UFC rankings to become a champion.

Kamaru Usman was born in Auchi, Nigeria

The UFC Welterweight champion, Kamaru Usman is scheduled to defend his title for the sixth time against Leon Edwards in a rematch at UFC 278 this weekend. Usman who was born in Nigeria talks about his upbringing and living with his grandmother with Ariel Helwani. The champion later immigrated to Texas, America.


The Welterweight kingpin is currently on an 18-fight-win streak and won the UFC title after defeating the then-champion Tyron Woodley at UFC 235. After capturing the title he has defended it on five different occasions in a dominant fashion. Knocking off top contenders and former champions, Usman has racked up a record of 20-1 in the process.

The Nigerian Nightmare is now scheduled to fight Leon Edwards this weekend at UFC 278. This is a rematch of their first meeting back in 2015. Usman took the victory in their first meeting by Unanimous decision in a three-round fight. The champion picked up the win mostly by wrestling the Brit on the mat.


Kamaru was born in Auchi, Nigeria in 1987. His father was a major in the Nigerian Army and his mother a teacher. In his childhood, he struggled with poverty and a life of deprivation in his environment. His father Muhammed Nasiru Usman, who became a pharmacist in the United States, brought his family into the country when Usman was eight years old. They immigrated to Dallas, Texas.

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Kamaru Usman had to walk to the river to get some water

Kamaru Usman

In an interview with Ariel Helwani, the Nigerian Nightmare shared his story of growing up in Nigeria where there was a lot of poverty. He had to walk to the river to get water. He also revealed that growing up in Africa no one ever dreams of becoming a UFC champion.

Usman stated, ” We’re immigrants from African countries. In our countries, you never dream of this. I remember a time where, I think 5 years old, I lived with my grandmother cause I was really, really sick as a child. Yeah back in Nigeria. But, I was sick enough to where I was sent off.”

Also Read: Kamaru Usman, Leon Edwards, and 3 other fighters whose immigrant experience shaped their fight journey

“And so living with her, for that whole year, You had to walk to the well or to the river to get some water. So we’d walk, get the water, carry it on our heads, walk all the way back.” Kamaru further added.

Usman went on to state that he want to inspire his fellow countrymen and want to represent his nation on the World stage. He stated, “So, just things like that I never dreamed that I would be on a platform to where now they can watch me on YouTube in Nigeria. So, of course, I want to be relatable to my people and let them know that, Hey, it’s not the end of the world.”

The Nigerian Nightmare concluded by saying, “Every time that I have an opportunity to be able to show my people that I’m really a Nigerian, I want to do that for sure.”

What are your thoughts on the inspiring story of the champion Kamaru Usman? Do you think he will successfully defend his title this weekend at UFC 278? Let us know in the comments below.

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