Before “The Nigerian Nightmare” was reigning over the 170lb division in the UFC, Usman grew up as a credentialed NCAA Division II wrestling champion out of the University of Nebraska at Kearney. It was here that he was a three-time All-American, helping to win his college’s first ever team title, placing top three in the nation for his entire time at the University, and becoming the national champion at 174lb in 2010.
Late last month, Kamaru Usman was recognized for his accomplishments in the sport of wrestling, by being inducted into the NWCA Hall of Fame. The UFC filmed this induction ceremony, where it was posted to YouTube to shine a light on how important the sport was to the champ.
Kamaru Usman Officially Retires (From Wrestling)
During the induction ceremony, Usman gives a speech, thanking everyone for their support and recognizing him with this honor, even joking that he is officially retired from the sport of wrestling. He then took a brief second to promise that this will not stop him from wrestling Leon Edwards, at UFC 278 this weekend.
“Thank you guys so much for introducing me to such a wonderful sport. You guys truly demanded excellence from me, which set the tone for the rest of my life. UNK was responsible for exposing me to not just high level wrestling, but the world of MMA,” Usman said. “So today, accepting this honor, I can truly say that I am officially retiring from the sport of competitive wrestling. But on August 20th, my opponent, don’t think I won’t wrestle. Because I will. I’m damn sure gonna wrestle.”
This was a touching moment for Kamaru Usman, as it is clear that the sport of wrestling had a massive impact on him as a person and a fighter. It will be interesting to see how much of his wrestling shines through at UFC 278.
Who do you think will win the rematch between Kamaru Usman and Leon Edwards on August 20th?