After watching Darren Till get a hero’s reception in his hometown of Liverpool, welterweight contender Kamaru Usman is hoping for a similar experience in Africa. While Usman hails from Nigeria, he feels that, if the UFC called on all of its African stars, it could sell out a stadium in pretty much any African nation.
In a perfect world, Usman can imagine himself, Cameroonian-French heavyweight Francis Ngannou, Nigerian-born Kiwi middleweight Israel Adesanya, and Ghanaian welterweight Abdul Razak Alhassan, all competing on a star-studded card in a stadium somewhere on the African continent.
“This is one thing I want to highlight as well,” Usman said on a recent episode of The MMA Hour (transcribed by Nathan Zur for Sherdog). “Great job to Darren Till. He’s really done a great job with the platform he’s been given. But you put him in Liverpool. The guy from Liverpool that you put there, that’s excelling, that’s doing well now. You trying to tell me, you don’t put me in Nigeria…or not just me, you put me, Francis, Israel, Razak anywhere in Africa, we will do a stadium. We do a stadium easy. Anywhere in Africa, we do a stadium easy.”
“We’re not really popular there because the sport hasn’t really tried to venture out,” Usman continued. “Because a lot of people see Africa as, oh, it’s a third-world [continent], oh, there’s no money there. But how can you say there’s no money there? Diamonds come from there. Gold comes from there. The only issue is that the money is there, but only a few people hold on to the money. So you’ve got half the percent that has the money, and then everybody else is living in poverty because they never let the money trickle down. But there’s money there. But they don’t see that opportunity. So they don’t see that opportunity. So, ‘why even market there? It’s a third-world [continent]. We don’t care,’ things like that.” But we do [sell out] a stadium easy.”
Do you imagine the UFC will promote shows on the African continent in the future? Could Kamaru Usman headline such an event?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 6/7/2018.