UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman has uttered the phrase "Naija no dey carry last" a couple of times in the octagon. However, most non-Nigerian UFC fans don't have the slightest clue as to what the line means.
So, what does Kamaru Usman's catchphrase mean?
The five-word Pidgin phrase is a popular Nigerian saying that serves as the unofficial national motto. In English, it loosely translates to "Nigerians strive to finish first."
In an interview with fellow Nigerian and former NFL linebacker Emmanuel Acho, Kamaru Usman revealed what the motto means and how significant it is to him:
"It means the world to me because growing up, I used to hear that phrase, hear that saying all the time. And I never really knew what that meant until I got to the point where I was able to compete. Because it means, at the end of the day – and it ties into so many things – it means at the end of the day it doesn't matter what's going on. It doesn't matter how much obstacles, how much pressure, or how many things are weighing us down. At the end of the day, we ain't going to be last."
Kamaru Usman blurted out the phrase after finishing off Gilbert Burns to defend his crown. Earlier in his career, Kamaru Usman used the same motto after dominating Brazilian legend Demain Maia at UFC Fight Night 129.
According to 'The Nigerian Nightmare', the phrase grew more meaningful to his life as he soared to new heights of success.
"We're still gonna struggle, we're gonna fight for everything that we've got. And we'll never come in last place. So that means the world to me when I get to say that because now, I'm in the position to where I'm a symbol of hope for my people," said Usman.
Kamaru Usman's domination
Kamaru Usman is the owner of the longest winning streak in the history of the UFC welterweight division. The Nigerian equaled octagon legend Georges St-Pierre's record of 13 consecutive wins after his win over Gilbert Burns at UFC 258. Usman broke his own record by knocking out Jorge Masvidal at UFC 261, taking his winning streak to 14.
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More than that, Kamaru Usman is only two wins away from overtaking Anderson Silva's winning streak and three victories shy of dethroning Jon Jones as the record holder for the longest winning streak in UFC history.