Kamaru Usman is looking forward to the day when he can finally have the UFC welterweight belt wrapped around his waist in an arena full of his countrymen.
The UFC kicked off 2021 with the first network TV event since December of 2018. In the main event, Max Holloway put on a show that harked back to the days of Ali on ABC and put the world on notice that the UFC is continuing to advance further into the mainstream zeitgeist. But what better way is there to convey that same message than to have a presence in as many continents as possible, including unventured territory such as the homeland of of UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya, #1 heavyweight contender Francis Ngannou, and UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman?
How Far Away Is A UFC Africa Megacard?
Kamaru Usman and his compatriots have been pushing for a UFC Africa show, and though it still yet to happen even in the light of two African-born champions, Usman believes it’s only a matter of time.
“Honestly, I don’t think we’re far at all,” Usman said in a UFC 258 media scrum about UFC Africa. “I think the tough thing is just the higher-ups and the execs just are able to say, ‘OK, we’re going to do whatever it takes to make it happen. Because obviously, there’s intricate details that a lot of people don’t know that goes into bringing events to certain places, just financial-wise. And not just financial, but also logistics and making sure everything works out.
“There’s a couple of countries down in the continent of Africa who are definitely capable of being able to host and make this thing come to fruition. And it’s just kind of up to the company to basically decide if, hey, we’re going to make this happen.”
The same way Max Holloway’s performance on UFC on ABC 1 reminded combat sports fans of the days of Ali’s greatness on a national display, Usman, Adesanya, Ngannou and others can issue the same reminder of what an international megaevent like “The Rumble in the Jungle” feels like.
Kamaru Usman Believes UFC Africa Is Inevitable
To Usman’s point, there are, in fact, several countries, and more specifically venues, that are more than capable of hosting a massive UFC event, such as the FNB Stadium in South Africa, the Cairo International Stadium in Egypt, Abuja Stadium in Nigeria, and of course the home of “The Rumble in the Jungle,” the Stade Tata Raphaël. The possibilities are endless with names like Ngannou, Adesanya, and Usman in any of these arenas, and they are also inevitable, says Usman.
“…Sooner than later, we’re about to have three African-born champions all holding belts,” Usman declared. “So I mean, we’re going to have to make something happen sooner or later. And I envision that being just one of the most memorable and massive events that this company has ever seen.”
In order for Usman’s vision to come off exactly as he imagines it, he will need to maintain his status as the undisputed UFC welterweight champion. Standing in the way of this requirement is former teammate Gilbert Burns, who will be looking to be making UFC history for his own country tonight by becoming the first Brazilian welterweight champion in UFC history. In a matter of hours, we’ll learn which of these patriots will exit with their dream intact, and which one will have their UFC 258 experience warp into a nightmare.
Who do you think will represent their country with a win tonight: Nigeria’s Kamaru Usman or Brazil’s Gilbert Burns?