Friday, December 2, 2022

UFC Africa Could Happen As Soon As Next Year

UFC might make its arrival on the continent of Africa as soon as 2022 according to  “The Nigerian Nightmare” Kamaru Usman.

At UFC 235, the first-ever African-born champion was crowned when Kamaru Usman defeated Tyron Woodley to become the new UFC welterweight champion. The following year, fellow Nigerian Israel Adesanya bumped that number up to 2 when he knocked out Robert Whittaker at UFC 243 in front of over 57,000 fans in Melbourne, Australia. And most recently, Francis Ngannou became the third African world champion when he KO’d Stipe Miocic at UFC 260 last month.

In a truly remarkable turn of history, we now have three African world champions crowned within a two-year span. All three of these men have lobbied for a UFC mega-event in Africa even before such a monumental occurrence of three African-born champions became a reality. Surely, the UFC is finally prepared to put this idea into motion and celebrate all three in a massive event on the continent, right? The first African-born champ provided an update in a recent interview with MMA Junkie.

“I’ve had conversations with Dana. I had a conversation with him right after (Ngannou’s win) and even after my fight,” Usman said. “And it seems like, yeah, that’s something that they’re interested in, but there’s a lot that goes into being able to have an event down there in Africa. So we’re dealing with maybe certain rights and things of this region has rights to this region and things of that nature. So it makes it a little difficult to just say, ‘You know what? Let’s just do an event at this place.’ But Dana did assure me that, next year, we should be looking at getting something done.”

The UFC is already set to return to full-capacity crowds beginning tomorrow at UFC 261, but due to the fact that the world is still in flux from the COVID-19 pandemic, that could potentially still be an obstacle from putting this plan into motion along with the other concerns voiced by Usman. The dream shared by Usman and his two fellow African champions is for this event to materialize with all three men holding UFC gold. 

Recently, Kamaru Usman stated that it’s possible he would walk away from the sport after UFC 261 due to a lack of new challenges. However, in this interview, he said there is one thing that would without a doubt get him to stick around: the opportunity to make history once again by playing a large role both inside and outside the cage in the manifestation of the first-ever UFC Africa event.

Do you believe the UFC will have a UFC Africa event in 2022?