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When a welterweight title-unification bout between Tyron Woodley and Colby Covington failed to materialize last year, the former went on to successfully defend his title against Darren Till. Recently, talks of a Woodley-Covington tussle crumbled again.
Kamaru Usman’s name wasn’t as big a priority to the average fan, but with an undefeated Ultimate Fighting Championship run, he has certainly proved his worth. Usman will challenge Woodley for the title at UFC 235. How deserving is the No. 3-ranked welterweight? These numbers will give the answer.
8: Years old when his family moved from Nigeria to the United States, where he finished school and eventually found a career in mixed martial arts.
53: Wins against three losses as a wrestler for Bowie High School. While enrolled at William Penn University, he qualified for the NAIA wrestling championship, but it wasn’t after transferring to the University of Nebraska at Kearney that his wrestling career really flourished.
6: Fights before making his way to the Octagon. He fought at Victory Fighting Championship, Championship Fighting Alliance, Resurrection Fighting Alliance and Legacy Fighting Alliance.
3: Fellow contestants defeated to win The Ultimate Fighter: American Top Team vs. Blackzilians and earn a six-figure contract. He beat Michael Graves and Steve Carl to set the stage for a finals showdown with Hayder Hassan, whom he tapped out via arm triangle to claim the victory.
2: Rounds needed to beat David Glover in his professional debut. The end came after Usman peppered his opponent with a series of unanswered punches.
52: Percent takedown accuracy. “The Nigerian Nightmare” landed 28 of the 77 takedowns he attempted. He’s been able to score at least five takedowns five times in his UFC career.
12: Takedowns landed on Rafael dos Anjos in their one-sided bout that ended in a unanimous decision victory in Usman’s favor. He also landed 130 significant strikes against dos Anjos’ 62.
51: Percent striking accuracy. Apart from his wrestling, Usman is also feared for his heavy hands and effective combinations. Of the 1,040 significant strikes he attempted, 527 found their target cleanly.
130: Significant strikes was his most in a single UFC fight. This was during his domination over dos Anjos when they met at The Ultimate Fighter 28 finale.
15: Significant strikes was the least in a single UFC bout, and that’s against Hassan. However, that’s only because he ended the fight early.
0: Opponents have taken him down. In all his fights inside the Octagon, nobody has ever brought “Marty” to the ground. His ability to keep the fight standing has served him well in his entire career.
2: Performance of the Night awards, and he earned them following his stellar performances against dos Anjos and Hassan.
3: Countries in which he has displayed his talent. Apart from the United States, he also fought in Brazil for UFC Fight Night 100 and Chile for UFC Fight Night 129, where he faced Demian Maia in the main event.