Kamaru Usman: Top 5 MMA Finishes

Kamaru Usman is ranked the current no.4 best pound-for-pound MMA fighter, and is the UFC Welterweight Champion. He occupies 52nd place as the greatest MMA Fighter of All Time, fighting out of ONX Sports team.

“The Nigerian Nightmare”, Kamarudeen Usman, is a Nigerian-American mixed martial artist riding high on his current undefeated streak culminating in 18 victories in the past 7 years of his professional MMA career.

Usman was born in Auchi city in Nigeria on May 11, 1987. Later, his parents immigrated to the United States when he was only 8 years-old. He still identifies himself as Nigerian as his walkout trademark is having the Nigerian flag draped around him on all his UFC appearances.

Usman holds a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under the mentorship of Jorge Santiago. He started practicing wrestling at Bowie High School in Arlington, Texas – compiling a scintillating record of 53-3 in high-school wrestling competitions.

Before joining the University of Nebraska, Usman wrestled at William Penn University, in Iowa where he qualified for the NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) tournament in 2007.

Under the advice of Tervel Dlagnev – an amateur freestyle wrestler who represented the US in the 2012 and 2016 Olympic games – he was recruited by the University of Nebraska and lead their wrestling team, Lopers, to win their first ever team title in 2008.

In 2010, he became the NAIA Division 2 Champion at 174 pounds with a staggering record of 44 wins including 30 straight wins and only one loss. He was on cloud nine and looked a very promising wrestling prospect for the US. Subsequently, he turned his attention towards freestyle wrestling and joined the United States Olympic Training centre in the hope of making it on the 2012 Olympic team. However, injuries scrapped his dream of representing the US in the Olympics.

Nevertheless, injuries proved to be a blessing in disguise for “The Nigerian Nightmare” who was intent on making his name in mixed martial arts. Christian Okoye, a former NFL star, who actually has the nickname “The Nigerian Nightmare” trademarked gave his blessing for Usman to use it.

Usman made his professional MMA debut in the year 2012 at Resurrection Fighting Alliance (RFA) against his opponent, funnily enough nicknamed “The Nightmare” David Glover. Usman proved to be the more ominous “Nightmare” however, as he ran wild on his opponent with punches, winning the match via knockout.

Kamaru Usman made his debut in the UFC against American fighter Hayder Hassan in 2015. Usman won the match via submission as Hayder tapped, unable to endure the searing pain from an arm triangle choke.

“The Nigerian Nightmare” is not the only member of his family to make it into MMA. His younger brother, Mohammed Usman, competes in the heavyweight division of pro MMA where he’s achieved a record of seven wins since his debut in 2017.

Now you’ve got the back story on this unique, Nigerian warrior, let’s get into the hotlist of The Nigerian Nightmare’s best and most sinister finales – as we breakdown Kamaru Usman’s Top 5 MMA Finishes (in descending order)!

  1. Vs. Rashid Abdullah – VFC 41 (Dec. 14, 2013)
  2. Kamaru Usman was up against “The Black Spartan” Rashid Abdullah in the middleweight division of the VFC. Immediately, at the start of the fight, Usman grappled his opponent and went in for a takedown. Usman mounted Abdullah and drained him under the pressure of gravity exerted by his bodyweight.

    At 26 seconds into round one, “The Nigerian Nightmare” hurled punches on the lower abs of Rashid as he lay over him in a dominant position controlling his head.

    At 1 minute, 43 seconds into the round, Usman massively brutalized his opponent by way of short elbows and hammer fists giving him no room whatsoever to defend himself. Usman continued to rattle Rashid with jabs and elbows to the backside of his head – and there was simply no room to get out of this seriously restricted position.

    Usman persisted in raining ruthless head punches before the referee intervened at 3 minutes, 49 seconds of round one to call the end. Kamaru won the match by knockout.

    1. Vs. Sergio Moraes – UFC Fight Night 116 (Sept. 16, 2017)
    2. Kamaru Usman was up against “The Panther” Sergio Moraes, a Brazilian mixed martial artist at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, USA.

      Usman made an intimidating gorilla leap towards Sergio Moraes as soon as the bell rang, looking for an opening in the early moments of the match.

      At 35 seconds into the first round, Usman unleashed three punches upon Moraes’ body as he pulled himself back towards the side of the ring. Usman here was dominant, occupying a more commanding position inside the octagon as he switched up gear to beat down his opponent.

      At 1 minute 51 seconds into round one, Moraes hurled left and right hooks at Usman as he looked to snare him down in the centre of the cage. Meanwhile however, Usman appeared fearless, as he effortlessly manoeuvred around hunting his next move.

      At 2 minutes 45 seconds, Usman threw a huge right hand on the face of Moraes who immediately stumbled to the ground. The referee intervened at 2 minutes, 48 seconds with Usman winning the bout via knockout. This match is ranked the 60th Best MMA Knockout of the Year, 2017.

      1. Vs. Tyron Woodley – UFC 235 (March 2, 2019)
      2. Here, the UFC Welterweight Championship title was on the line as Kamaru Usman took on reigning champion, Tyron Woodley.

        At the start, Usman prowled towards his opponent with a menacing gorilla stride. At 42 seconds in, Tyron Woodley goes for a guillotine choke, close to the side of the ring. Usman punches Woodley to get free of the choke.

        The fighters continue to grapple, incorporating hard-hitting knees.  At 3 minutes, 42 seconds into round one, Usman overpowers Woodley with ruthless punches and more hard knees.

        In round two, Usman continues to dominate his opponent by forcing him towards the side of the ring before unleashing all the callous moves in his arsenal.

        At 2 minutes, 38 seconds into the round, Usman mounts Woodley smashing powerful punches onto his head. Usman fully intended to drain his opponent of energy as the gravity of his 170-pound bodyweight starts to exert increasing pressure on the body of the welterweight champ.

        With every passing round, Usman just seemed to get better and appeared to be executing his plan to perfection by closing the distance between himself and Woodley before exacting deadly blows on him.

        At 4 minutes into round four, Usman delivered deadly upper cuts and lethal jabs aiming to decimate Woodley, but somehow Woodley was able to absorb the sinister strikes as the fourth round ended.

        The final round saw Usman continue to overwhelm his opponent. Let’s face it, it was a nightmare of a fight for Tyron who didn’t seem to have an answer for the technical moves of Usman who won the match via round five decision.

        Kamaru Usman was crowned the new UFC Welterweight Champion by dethroning Tyron Woodley. This match is ranked as the 94th Greatest Welterweight MMA Fight of all Time and the 73rd Best MMA Fight of the Year, 2019.

        1. Vs. Gilbert Burns – UFC 258 (Feb. 13, 2021)
        2. The welterweight title was up for grabs here, as the no.3-ranked Gilbert Burns, went one on one with current Welterweight Champion, Kamaru Usman.

          Gilbert started off aggressively by hurling a big right hand towards Usman who took guard just in time from the oncoming onslaught. At 32 seconds into round one, Gilbert landed a brutal left-hand punch that stunned Usman as he lost balance and stumbled to the ground.

          Everybody in the arena thought that a K.O. was lurking in the background as Gilbert continued to attack Usman’s head with iron fists. Usman’s resilience continued up to the bell giving him a chance to remove himself from the apparent pressure.

          At 2 minutes, 15 seconds into round two, Usman started to have his say, punishing Gilbert with a brutal right-hand jab that made him lose ground as he stumbled toward the side of the ring, soon to be showing a swollen face.

          Usman continued to dominate the second round as Gilbert was left stunned by the sheer intensity of his punches – most likely the most powerful he had ever come up against in his career thus far.

          At 20 seconds into round three, Gilbert fell to the ground as Usman landed a huge right hand to his face. Usman continued to brutalize his grounded opponent mercilessly with big right hands, whereupon the referee intervened at 34 seconds to call the match.

          Kamaru won the match via knockout to retain the UFC Welterweight Championship. This match is ranked 54th Best MMA Fight of the Year,  2021, and 15th Best MMA Knockout of the Year, 2021.

          1. Vs. Colby Covington – UFC 245 (Dec. 14, 2019)
          2. This fight was Kamaru Usman’s first title defense against the former interim UFC Welterweight Champion, Colby Covington which took place at the T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas. The winner of the bout was set to be crowned the new UFC Welterweight Champion.

            Covington took control in the first round being the more focused aggressor. At 2 minutes 16 seconds in, Covington landed a big left punch to the face of Usman to which he retaliated with a knee strike into Covington’s stomach. Covington followed with a combination of left-right hooks, a high kick, and a hard knee into Usman’s midsection.

            At 1 minute 35 seconds into round two, Covington threw left and right hand jabs at Usman following up with a high kick. Usman looked undeterred and continued to battle it out, seemingly mapping out Covington’s strategies in his own mind.

            At 2 minutes, 10 seconds into the round, Usman got ruthless with right-hand jabs landing right on Covington’s jaw. Covington was visibly shaken and in pain, having just sustained a broken jaw. Usman gave him a a wicked smile at the end of round two as he knew he was overtaking Covington in the race for the title. Up to now, the match had been swinging like a pendulum swaying in neither fighter’s favour for long.

            Usman gained more momentum as the match progressed, while Covington clearly lost vigour and concentration after those mammoth blows to the jaw. In between rounds Covington told his coaches, “I think I broke my jaw.”

            At 4 minutes and 15 seconds into round three, Usman again unleashed major strikes upon Covington. He retaliated with forceful high kicks and jabs which resulted in the referee prematurely stopping the bout as Covington poked Usman’s eye.

            At 33 seconds into round four, Covington regained his spirit, smashing ruthless jabs right to Usman’s face. The match simmered to boiling as officials were quick to enter the octagon and keep fighters in their respective corners by the end of round four.

            At 3 minutes, 33 seconds into round five, Usman goes rampant with a fierce right-hand jab to the face and body of his opponent, really pouring on the business of hurt.

            With bloodied face, Covington stumbles to the ground, unable to absorb the brutal blows rocking his body. Usman strikes Covington’s head with more brutal iron fists as the referee intervenes at 4 minutes, 10 seconds of round five. Usman wins the match via knockout.

            This fight earned “The Nigerian Nightmare” the UFC Fight of the Night, along with a bonus of $50,000. This match is ranked the 61st Greatest Fight of All Time, 21st Greatest Welterweight Fight of all Time, 90th Best MMA Knockout of the Year, 2019, and 3rd Best MMA Fight of the Year for 2019

            So, there we have it folks, 5 of Kamaru Usman’s best MMA Finishes! With an eye-opening record of 18 wins with 8 TKO/KO’s and 1 submission, would you rank Usman among the best welterweight fighters of all time? From the list above, what’s your favourite combat moment from “The Nigerian Nightmare”? Which fighter should be KFK’d next? Let us know in the comments below; Like, share and join in the conversation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter & Instagram.

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Atif Khan

Atif Khan is an MA graduate in International Journalism from Cardiff University. He is keenly Interested in learning about all types of martial arts and their essence in cultivating strong physical and mental strength. He's always been fascinated by Chinese kung fu pioneers along with their mystical animal styles, forms and poses, and their hard work philosophy leading to a balanced way of life.

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