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UFC 258: What is Kamaru Usman's real name?

UFC 258 Usman v Burns: Weigh-Ins
UFC 258 Usman v Burns: Weigh-Ins
SENIOR ANALYST
Modified 14 Feb 2021
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Kamaru Usman's real name is Kamarudeen Usman. The current UFC welterweight champion decided to change his name due to people struggling to pronounce it right.

Born in Auchi, Nigeria, Kamaru Usman immigrated to the United States accompanied by his family when he was eight years old. The youngest of Kamaru Usman's two brothers is also an MMA fighter, who competes as a heavyweight in the PFL.

Adapting through his new life in Dallas, Texas, Kamaru Usman began wrestling during high school. But because his wrestling coach could not enunciate Kamaru Usman's real name correctly, he received the nickname "Marty."

Throughout all of Kamaru Usman's amateur wrestling career, he was known as Marty. A successful wrestler, he held a record of 53-3 during high school, reaching the senior national tournament simultaneously with former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones.

Kamaru Usman's dedication to wrestling increased even more when "The Nigerian Nightmare" decided that he wanted to make it to the US 2012 Olympic team.

However, his Olympic gold medal dreams ended when he experienced a sequence of injuries that hindered his chances of guaranteeing a spot in the team for 2012.

Following the failed Olympic attempt, Kamaru Usman turned his attention to mixed martial arts instead. In 2011, he became one of the first fighters to join the legendary MMA team "Blackzilians."

Kamaru Usman would make his MMA debut a year later, with a second-round knockout win over David Glover at RFA 5. Less than three years competing as an MMA fighter, he was selected to represent the Blackzilians team at The Ultimate Fighter 21.

"The Nigerian Nightmare" got himself a six-digit contract with the UFC after defeating Hayder Hassan in the tournament's finals. Nine consecutive wins later, he captured the welterweight belt - which he has already defended twice and is ready to defend once more at UFC 258.

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What is the controversy over Kamaru Usman's real name?

UFC 251: Usman v Masvidal
UFC 251: Usman v Masvidal

It all started when former UFC welterweight Ben Askren suggested in the post-fight interview of his defeat to Jorge Masvidal that Kamaru Usman's real name was "Marty Usman."

Many other fighters started to accuse Kamaru Usman of lying about his true origins from that point onwards. Speaking to MMA Junkie, Masvidal explained his reasons for disliking the current welterweight champion:

"He's got like 38 personalities. Every week I keep finding a new one. I don't like any of them so far. I've known this guy for a while, and he wasn't that guy before. He was asking me for pictures and handshakes back in the day," said Masvidal. "Really, his name is Kamarudeen. It's not even Kamaru. He actually shortened up his real birth name. This guy is just a head case of head cases."
Published 14 Feb 2021, 07:16 IST
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