Nigerian-American mixed martial arts champion, Kamaru Usman, has revealed that he and his family had nothing while in Nigeria before moving on to greener pastures and finding his beloved sport.
The UFC’s current welterweight champion disclosed this and many more in a wide-ranging interview on a Channels TV program, Gist Nigeria.
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The 33-year-old father of one disclosed how he farmed and hawked to secure the next meal.
“We grew up in the village. We farmed. As a small boy, farm boy, I used to hawk Akpu, put hot Akpu on my head. I came from nothing,” Usman started.
The Auchi-born fighter, who moved to USA aged eight, disclosed the everyday family struggle and how his mother catered for himself and two other brothers.
“There is just struggle every day, the struggle to, how are we gonna eat next week, next month. What are we gonna do?
“We owned a small store where we sold clothes, we sold shoes, my mum sold bags, anything that we could sell, my mum was able to get and try to sell. My mum was a hustler and that is one of the things I respect so much about her as a woman with three rowdy Naija boys.”
The three-time defending champion whose father went to prison while he was still in college further revealed the father-daughter bond he enjoys with his five-year-old daughter, Samirah, who was once his gym partner.
“My daughter, Samirah, I love her to death. She’s very intriguing to me because from about 6 months to about three and half years of her life, she went to the gym with me every day. Then she hit about five years and then she started saying, ‘you know I’m not going to do this daddy, right. You know I’m not going do this sport.’
“I think I have to just accept that and honestly I don’t think I want her to this sport anyway. She’s got her thing, she’s doing gymnastics and for self defence. She does Ju-Jitsu because she has to learn how to control the situation if anything happens. I’m okay with those right now.”
The famed Nigerian Nightmare also revealed he is planning to fully move into commentary and analysis of mixed martial arts after retirement.
“Talking about the Sport that I’ve spent so much time in, that’s a dream. So now instead of getting punched in the face you are talking about people who are getting punched in the face. And so, it’s a dream for me but I’m slowly getting my feet wet in it and finding my ground because it is something I definitely want to do when I walk away from this sport.”
Usman, who will again defend is belt in a rematch with Jorge Masvidal on 24 April in Jacksonville Florida, also listed some Nigerian cuisines he still tries to taste once in a while and one stands out.
“Pounded yam and Egusi, there is nothing like it!”