Nigerians have made a huge mark in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) world, wowing fans and fellow fighters alike with their remarkable prowess. While several other countries have seen representation in the UFC, few have produced as many champions in a short time as Nigeria.
As more Nigerians continue to excel in the UFC, let’s highlight the top 5 Nigerian UFC fighters of all time, known for their exploits inside the ropes.
- #5. Hakeem Dawodu
Hakeem Dawodu, born in Canada to a Nigerian mother, earned his nickname “Mean” during his time in a youth detention center due to his anger issues. At 16, he was sent to train in Muay Thai as a way to channel his aggression. Dawodu quickly embraced Muay Thai, amassing a remarkable 42-5 amateur record and an undefeated 9-0 professional record, including numerous titles and a gold medal at the 2010 IFMA World Championships. With UFC growing more popular in Nigeria, UFC fans can learn
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#4. Kennedy Nzechukwu
Kennedy Nzechukwu is, without a doubt, one of the finest Nigerian UFC fighters ever, known for his captivating fighting style. He entered the UFC after winning Dana White’s Contender Series 1&2 and has since achieved a 6-3 record in the UFC. Nzechukwu has been training at Fortis MMA in Dallas, Texas, under the guidance of Sayif Saud since 2015, marking the beginning of his professional career.
#3. Sodiq “Super” Yusuff
Sodiq “Super” Yusuff became a U.S. citizen in 2019 after earning a UFC contract in 2018 by winning Dana White’s Contender Series. His MMA journey started in Brazilian jiu-jitsu under the tutelage of Lloyd Irvin, a highly skilled 4th-degree black belt with notable students like Dominick Cruz.
#2. Kamaru Usman
Ranked second on the list of the top 5 Nigerian UFC fighters is Kamaru Usman, one of the UFC’s top welterweight champions. Kamaru earned a 5-1 MMA record before joining the UFC, winning TUF: Season 21 in 2015. He went on to become the first African UFC fighter to secure a title, defeating Tyron Woodley in 2019. With a background in elite wrestling and being an NCAA Division II All-American, Usman has won 15 consecutive UFC fights, just one shy of Anderson Silva’s record of 16, which Leon Edwards ended.
#1. Israel Adesanya
Born in Nigeria and raised in New Zealand, Israel Adesanya is a two-time UFC middleweight champion who has successfully defended his title five times. Leading the pack of the top 5 Nigerian UFC fighters, Adesanya began his career as a kickboxer, boasting a remarkable 32-0 amateur record before compiling a 75-5 professional record. During that time, he won three King in the Ring tournaments, the 2016 Glory Middleweight tournament, and competed for the Glory Middleweight Championship.