Kamaru Usman showed early signs of greatness during his TUF (The Ultimate Fighter) Season 21 stint in 2015. The Nigerian-born UFC fighter dismantled each of his opponents on his way to capturing the coveted six-figure contract for his team, the Blackzilians.
On his debut, 'The Nigerian Nightmare' locked horns with former undefeated Titan FC welterweight champion Michael Graves. The game plan for Kamaru Usman was simple: utilizing his superior grappling acumen to dominate Graves for three rounds. Usman sublimely executed his strategy and churned out a unanimous decision victory. Check out Usman's clash with Graves below:
"After the result, I felt content. I'm happy with what it has done for my guys. To go out there and get the first fight and set the tone that we're going to fight," said Kamaru Usman after his victory.
Subsequently, Kamaru Usman went up against WSOF welterweight champion Steve Carl in the semi-finals. After securing a lopsided unanimous decision win, Usman was propelled into the finals.
Kamaru Usman vs. Hayder Hassan: TUF Season 21 Finale
Coming off two dominant victories over his ATT (American Top Team) rivals, Kamaru Usman faced Hyder Hassan in the season finale. The matchup deserved a slot in the season finale as the two combatants had been trading barbs throughout the season.
"In my opinion, they couldn't have picked a better fight. Obviously, both guys are undefeated in the competition and, more importantly, they do not like each other. These guys have been talking smack the entire season," said Dana White leading up to the fight.
From the get-go, Kamaru Usman smothered Hassan by imposing his NCAA Division Two level wrestling pressure. In the second frame, Usman trapped Hassan in an arm-triangle choke at the 1:19 mark. The UFC awarded the Blackzilians with a $300,000 prize to reward Usman's victory. In his post-fight winning speech, Usman said:
“I feel great. It was a long road, and I’ve been working so hard for this. I knew I could get the job done for us. (The choke) is something I’ve added to my arsenal. It’s one thing to get somebody down on the ground, and another thing to finish somebody there.”
Check out Kamaru Usman's journey to the helm of The Ultimate Fighter Season 21 below: