The Nigerian Nightmare, also known as Kamaru Usman, is the reigning UFC welterweight champion. He’s ranked as ESPN’s top pound for pound fighter, and it's no surprise with how versatile and vigilant he is in the octagon.
Ahead of his highly anticipated rematch against Colby Covington, (which is set to happen on November 6th at Madison Square Gardens), we sat down and asked him some questions regarding his journey, and how he has managed to keep his mindset intact over the years.
Hi Usman, thanks for taking time the time speak to us;
A one that we’re all curious about, what does your morning routine look like?
My mornings start at 6:15am. I wake up and get my daughter ready for school. After I get back from taking her to school, I then prepare my gym bag for the gym and have my morning stretch. I eat a bit of breakfast and take all my vitamins for the day and then head to the gym.
With being a family man, and needing to train hard for your upcoming fight, what is one thing that always keeps you motivated?
The thrill of competition and the fear of Failure are my biggest motivating factors. Because I hate the disappointment of failure it drives me to work harder than any and every one in my division.
With your next fight a few months away, how do you prepare to be in the right mindset for fight night?
I truly live by 2 quotes. “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail” and if “you strive for perfection and fail, you still attain excellence”. These quotes remind me daily of what I’m working for and what it takes mentally to stay at the top.
In terms of mentality, has there ever been a time when you thought that UFC wouldn’t work out for you?
Yes, there have been many times when I thought the UFC wouldn’t work out for me. In 2017 I wanted to retire from the sport because I suffered back to back injuries and I was also having a hard time getting an opponent to fight me. I truly wanted to retire from the sport and get a corporate job.
Knowing that and seeing how far you’ve come from 2017 to now, being the reigning Welterweight Champion is an inspiration for us all. For anyone looking to get into UFC, what advice would you give them?
Make sure this is what you truly want, because this sport is unforgiving, and it also has a funny way of bringing out the humility and humanity in us all.
On the topic of the sport being unforgiving, when facing hardships, what helps you to be resilient and keep pushing forward?
When facing hardships, I try to draw inspiration from my own private training where I’ve pushed and conditioned my mind to withstand any and everything that life might throw my way.
Is that how you cope with the intense pressure that comes hand in hand with the sport?
When the pressure gets too stressful, I try to surround myself with like-minded individuals that have been through similar situations and can talk me through what I am feeling in those circumstances.
If you were to give a message to your fans, what would it be?
This Sport has given me so much. It has taken me places I’ve only dreamed and I’ve made many friends and connections all along the way. I’m truly thankful for all the fans because their love and support serves as major motivation to us fighters.
We can’t imagine how motivational it is having loyal fans supporting you every step of the way. Talking of connections, who has been one of the key people that has helped you to get where you are today?
Suga Rashad Evans (UFC Hall of Famer and former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion) has always been, not only one of my biggest inspirations in this sport, but he also was one of the main reasons I made the switch from wrestling to Mixed Martial Arts.
And lastly, if you were to give one bit of advice, what would it be?
Luck is when preparation meets Opportunity, so make sure you’re prepared so that when the opportunity arrives you're ready to get lucky.
We want to say another big thank you to Kamaru Usman for taking the time to talk with us. He continually shows us why he is one of the most inspirational people to come from the sport; and truly cements that with the right mindset and resilience we really can achieve anything we put our mind to.
The welterweight title rematch between champ Kamaru Usman and Colby Covington will headline the UFC’s November pay-per-view event with New York City’s Madison Square Garden as a candidate to host. Be ready for November 6th, as you do not want to miss out.