Who was the first UFC champion from Nigeria?

Where does Nigeria stand in UFC's championship history? Find out all about it here.

The national flag of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as a...
The national flag of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as a... / SOPA Images/GettyImages
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The era when the UFC had the "Three Kings of Africa" was one of the most memorable and iconic, especially in recent history. Two-thirds of those three athletes hailed from Nigeria and they put the nation on the map in a major way.

Outside of the UFC, there have been several Nigerian fighters who have risen to great heights. Within the UFC, the Nigerians who have become big have done so at the very top of the promotion as champions.

Who was the first UFC champion from Nigeria?

The first UFC champion from Nigeria was 'The Nigerian Nightmare' Kamaru Usman. His reign was critically acclaimed and became the highlight of the UFC's pandemic era for many.

At time of writing, Usman's reign is the second-longest in the welterweight division's history, coming second only to Georges St-Pierre's five-and-a-half-year reign. Usman's reign began at UFC 235 and, over the 1,267-day run with the title, he had five successful defenses.

Though the title run came to an end in 2022, Usman's time with the 170-pound gold remains one of the most significant of the modern era. During his time at the top, 'The Nigerian Nightmare' was certainly - and arguably still is - a force to be reckoned with.

Usman was not the only UFC champion to come out of Nigeria though. In fact, the other Nigerian's time with the gold ran almost simultaneously with Usman's own.

'The Last Stylebender' Israel Adesanya, although having grown up in New Zealand, was born in Nigeria. Coming up in the highly contentious middleweight division of the UFC, Adesanya rose above the odds to claim the 185-pound gold.

Adesanya's first reign lasted 1,134 days and saw five successful title defenses. For a number of years, the UFC's middleweight division was one of the most exciting in the entire world of MMA, and Adesanya contributed quite a bit to that.

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