Do you know who the best UFC fighters to come out of Nigeria are? In this post, we discuss the 5 Best Nigerian UFC Fighters of All Time (Ranked 2023) based on records, titles, skills, and opponents defeated and lost too.
As with every other sport in the world, Nigerians have dominated in Ultimate Fighting Championship, stunning spectators and competitors alike, with their ability to lead in this sport. Although other countries have had fighters compete in UFC, only a few of them have produced as many champions as Nigeria has done in a short period.
Nigerian Mixed Martial Artists have emerged victorious fighting in the Octagon all over the world. They worked their way to the top, making a name for themselves in contests like Bellator.
Besides putting Nigeria on the map, the exploits of the UFC fighters we mention in this article have also enhanced the popularity of MMA in Africa. With many citizens showing great interest in the sport.
Best Nigerian UFC Fighters of All Time (Ranked 2023)
5 Best Nigerian UFC Fighters of All Time (Ranked 2023)
UFC has become increasingly popular over the years, with some of the best fighters hailing from Nigeria. These men make a significant impact on the sports with their special fighting styles, impressive wins, and notable records.
With more Nigerians taking the lead in UFC, here are the 5 best Nigerian UFC fighters of all time, with exceptional skills and talents.
1. Israel Adesanya
Nickname: The Style Lastbender.
Height: 6’4” | Reach: 80” | Stance: Switch | Weight Class: Middleweight
Born in Nigeria, bred in New Zealand, Israel Adesanya is a two-time UFC middleweight champion that has successfully defended his title 5 times. Adesanya leads the team of the 5 best Nigerian UFC fighters of all time.
He started his career as a kickboxer, tallying a 32-0 amateur record before securing a 75-5 professional record. In that time, Adesanya won three King in the Ring tournaments, the 2016 Glory Middleweight tournament, and was a challenger for the Glory Middleweight Championship.
- Most elite kickboxing skills in MMA today.
- Excellent takedown defence.
- Mastery and control of range.
- Superior technique, power, and precision (16 knockouts and 8 decision victories in 24 wins).
- Tunnel vision, focus, and composure in a fight.
- Good in southpaw and orthodox stances.
Defeated – Alex Pereira, Marvin Vettori, Yoel Romero, Anderson Silva, Jared Cannonier, Paulo Costa, and Robert Whittaker.
2. Kamaru Usman
Nickname: The Nigerian Nightmare.
Height: 6’0” | Reach: 76” | Stance: Orthodox | Weight Class: Welterweight.
Coming in at number 2 on the list of the 5 best Nigerian UFC fighters of all time is Kamaru Usman. He is one of the top 3 UFC welterweight champions of all time. Kamaru fought to a 5-1 MMA record and joined UFC by winning TUF: Season 21 in 2015. He kept winning to become the first African UFC fighter to secure a title after defeating Tyron Woodley in 2019.
Usman was an elite wrestler before joining MMA; he became an NCAA Division II All-American. He has won 15 successive UFC fights, one behind the record of 16 set by Anderson Silva, ended by Leon Edwards.
- Among UFC’s all-time great wrestlers ( 3 takedowns per 15 minutes and 97% takedown defense in 17 UFC fights).
- Strong, precise jab.
- Champion-grade composure and focus.
- High-level cardiovascular endurance.
- Huge size for a welterweight (stronger than all opponents).
Defeated – Leon Edwards, Sean Strickland, Rafael Dos Anjos, Tyron Woodley, Jorge Masvidal, Gilbert Burns, and Colby Covington.
3. Sodiq Yusuff
Height: 5’9” | Reach: 71” | Stance: Orthodox | Weight Class: Featherweight.
Sodiq “Super’ Yusuff became a citizen of the United States of America in 2019 after he got a UFC contract in 2018 by winning Dana White’s Contender Series.
Super’s MMA journey began in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, training under Lloyd Irvin (and still is), a highly skilled 4th-degree black belt with numerous notable students such as Dominick Cruz.
- Powerful striking.
- Heavy top control on the ground (thanks to jiu-jitsu and big size for a featherweight).
- Outside low kicks to set up punches.
- Incredible boxing technique and fluid combinations (6 knockouts in 13 wins).
- Decent takedown defence.
- Strong front choke position (guillotines, anacondas, and D’Arce chokes).
- Forward pressure and high cardiovascular endurance control of the octagon.
- Highly durable (can take hard shots and recover well).
Defeated – Arnold Allen, Alex Caceres, Andre Fili, and Sheymon Moraes.
4. Kennedy Nzechukwu
Nickname: The African Savage.
Height: 6’5” | Reach: 83” | Stance: Southpaw | Weight Class: Light Heavyweight.
Kennedy Nzechukwu is by far one of the best Nigerian UFC fighters of all time and the most entertaining to watch in the world today. He got into the UFC after winning Dana White’s Contender Series 1&2 and has gone 6-3 in the UFC since then.
Nzechukwu has trained at Fortis MMA in Dallas, Texas, under Sayif Saud since 2015 when he began his professional career.
State: Imo State.
- Great heavy top control.
- High power and long boxing reach with jabs and hooks.
- Fantastic takedown defence (80% in 9 UFC fights).
- “The comeback king” – extremely dangerous after being hurt.
- Powerful knees (well-timed for shooting takedowns).
- Granite chin and durability.
Defeated – Karl Roberson, Ion Cutelaba, Carlos Ulberg, and Devin Clark.
5. Hakeem Dawodu
Height: 5’8” | Reach: 73” | Stance: Orthodox | Weight Class: Featherweight.
Hakeem Dawodu was born in Canada to a Nigerian mother. He got his nickname “Mean” from the time he spent in a youth detention centre and his anger. At age 16, Hakeem was sent to train in Muay Thai as a channel for his aggression.
Dawodu took to Muay Thai well and scored a 42-5 amateur record and a 9-0 professional record, including numerous titles and a gold medal at the 2010 IFMA World Championships.
State: Calgary, Canada.
- Impressive fundamentals and technique.
- Great energy efficiency with movement and techniques.
- Outstanding Muay Thai skills (use of knees and elbows in Muay Thai clinch).
- High aggression and powerful strikes (7 knockouts and 6 decisions in 13 wins thanks to his striking).
- Among the strongest featherweights on the roster (huge size, cuts around 20 lbs to make 145 lbs).
- Composed and focused with solid striking defense (keeps it tight and controlled).
Defeated – Julio Arce, Zubair Tukhugov, and Michael Trizano.