Usman Vows to Dethrone Tyron Woodley on Sunday in Las Vegas

Usman (right) is eyeing Woodley's belt to popularise UFC in Nigeria


Femi Solaja

Nigerian-born American Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) title contender, Kamaru Usman, has vowed to make a strong statement when he steps into the ring against Tyron Woodley, the welterweight champion.

The Edo State born fighter, is scheduled for a shot at the title in the early hours of Sunday morning (4am Nigerian time) at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

In a telephone interview with THISDAY on Wednesday night ahead of the crucial bout, Usman insisted that he has prepared for the fight he regards as the most important fight of his career.

“I had a dream I became the Number 1 fighter in my sport. The time has come for me to make that dream a reality. I know the fight with Woodley won’t be easy but the time has come for me to grab this unique opportunity. I won’t allow it to slip off me,” the prized fighter remarked with optimism from his base in America.

Usman will be going into the ring as Number 2 contender that he attained last year December.

On record, he has won 14 bouts and only lost one fight while the champion has 19 wins, three draws and one lost bout.

“This Saturday, if I win, it will be cheering news to millions of Nigerians back home and here in America. I want to use this step as a way to popularise the sport among youths back home.

“Coming home with the belt is one ambition I have craved and all things been equal, I should be able to attain that glory after the bloody bout on Saturday,” he pointed out.

Usman fondly referred to as The Nigerian Nightmare, left Nigeria with his parents when he was just eight years old.

The Nigerian fighter revealed that he started a career in wrestling in high school but that it was former champion in UFC, Rashae Heaven who convinced him to make a switch to the mixed martial art where he has

since become a hit.

“When I become the champion in the category on Saturday a lot of things will change. It will open doors to strong and energetic Nigerians who are willing to display their full potentials in the sport.

“The same way I see Rashae Henven as my role model, I want to encourage other Nigerians to follow my foot step to reach the top with their potentials,” he pointed out.

Going into the match, Usman recalled his last defeat six years ago to Jose Caceres and hoped that he has banished the ghost of that night when he comes up against the champion whom he knows will be a hard nut to crack.

In Woodley, he will be facing a fighter making fifth title defence of his belt and rated among the best ‘pound-for-pound fighter in UFC.

The bout will be broadcast live on DSTv and viewers can catch it up on SS6 including several under cards on the night.

The Ultimate Fighting Championship is an American mixed martial arts promotion company based in Las Vegas, Nevada, that is owned and operated by parent company William Morris Endeavor. It is the largest MMA promotion company in the world and features the highest-level fighters on the roster.