Through the first few months of 2019, the UFC has seen several champions lose their belts. Whether it be interim or the real thing (as if we know the difference at this point), the turnover has been fun to watch and extremely intriguing. Once great champions now stand in the shadows of these new up and comers, leaving the MMA world excited for things to come.
One of the biggest storylines however, has been the surge of talent from UFC fighters of Nigerian decent. Never before have we seen Nigerian fighters dominant the playing field as we have this year, having crowned two champions already.
But what people do not realize yet, is that Kings come in threes (shout out T-City aka Jesus). I predict at least one more West African champ by 2020, and I think everyone knows who I am talking about. Let’s break down our three Nigerian Kings that will hold gold for the coming years.
#1 Israel Adesanya
Whether you joined the bandwagon on time, or didn’t believe the hype, we now know “The Last Stylebender” is for real. Born July 22nd, 1989 in Lagos, Nigeria, the 29 year old has amassed a professional MMA record of 17-0.
Known for his slick movement and elite striking style, Israel Adesanya has quickly become a fan favorite after fighting four times in 2018 as well competing twice already in 2019. Not only has he been fighting consistently and winning, he has also won fight bonuses in 5 of those 6 fights. Adesanya received Performance of the Night for his bout at UFC 221 (Rob Wilkinson), Ultimate Fighter Finale (Brad Tavares), and UFC 230 (Derek Brunson) while also receiving Fight Of The Night for his wars at UFC 234 (Anderson Silva) as well as when he claimed UFC Middleweight gold at UFC 236 (Kelvin Gastelum). For those not keeping count, that’s a cool $250,000 WITHOUT salary. Not bad for someone that entered the UFC last February.
#2 Kamarudeen ‘Kamaru’ Usman
The rise of the “Nigerian Nightmare” has been one of the biggest storylines of 2019. Born May 11th, 1987, in Auchi, Nigeria the former Division II wrestler Usman piled up a 5-1 record before entering the UFC, and has dominated on his way to racking up a 15-1 record.
Usman had one of the most dominate performances in company history at UFC 235, where he dominated then welterweight king Tyron Woodley (48-44 x3). This performance shocked a lot of people, as the common analysis was Woodley was better at Usman at every asset of the fight game; power, wrestling, cardio, wrestling, movement, and wrestling. I’d wager that like myself, a lot of people were surprised at the outcome. Usman out wrestled Woodley for 5 straight rounds, leaving fans bored with the old king and eager to see more of the new. It was easily one of the most dominate performances in UFC History that has sparked the beginning of what feels like a legacy we will see for many years.
And now, for the final Nigerian King, the one who UFC fans are most excited about seeing perform again, regardless of the weight class, the opponent, or the venue…
#3 “Platinum” Mike Perry
The future is oh so bright. Michael Joseph Perry was born September 15th, 1991 in Flint. After hours of research, it was difficult to locate Flint in Nigeria, but we at StipeTapped do not take ‘No’ for an answer.
Having easily become a fan favorite due to his brute power, colorful commentary, warrior mentality, and overall swagger, the 27 year old Nigerian king has taken on all challenges in his UFC career. After bouncing back from a submission loss to Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone, Platinum Perry picked up his 6th UFC victory over Alex “Cowboy” Oliveira to hold a professional record of 13-4. Does He have something against cowboys? Is he one of the most entertaining fighters in the UFC today? Has he improved drastically since hie UFC Debut? Will he hold UFC gold by the time his career is done? I’m not sure.. you tell me…
Perry expressed his desire to get his hands on Colby Covington during the post fight conference this weekend. I for one am completely on board with either of the two Nigerian welterweight kings dismantling and embarrassing Covington. However we know that Usman will likely face the winner of Askren vs. Masvidal, leaving a perfect opportunity for Platinum to defend his homeland against that piece of trash Colby Covington.
Make it happen UFC.