By Muhyideen Jimoh
UFC reigning welterweight champion Kamaru Usman has pledged to partner with the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development to develop Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) in Nigeria.
The Nigerian-American welterweight champion made the pledge on Friday in Abuja when he paid a courtesy visit to the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare.
“I am so glad to be back home, we are looking at putting something in place, something new, refreshing and ground breaking that is going to get the youths excited.
“We want to move this country forward, move it to a better place, we know there is a lot of frustration in the country, so we want to change that.
“Obviously we will be working with the sports ministry to get the structures in place, to physically create centres where the youths can partake (in MMA) and eventually change their lives which inturn spark the change to affect lives all over the world,” he said.
The Nigerian Nightmare has he is fondly called said the visit to Nigeria was to go back to his roots, having left the shores of Nigeria for U.S. when he was only eight-years old.
The 34-year old Auchi, Edo-born MMA champion said sports could be used as a tool to empower the youths and put Nigeria on the global map.
Earlier, Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare commended Usman for his exploits abroad and for being a good Nigerian ambassador.
He said Nigeria would continue to support him in his professional career while forging a partnership to also mentor young Nigerians.
“Your story is well told, you signify the Nigerian Spirit; that of being dogged and rising to the top the feats you have achieved is no mean feat.
“For me I can’t say it enough; countries must leverage on their strength not dwell and emphasise on their weaknesses and you have signed post the good from Nigeria,” Dare said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Usman was born on May 11, 1987. He is a Nigerian-American professional mixed martial artist, former freestyle wrestler and a graduated folk style wrestler.
He currently competes in the welterweight division of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), where he is the reigning UFC Welterweight Champion.
Kamaru who has a staggering 19 wins out of 20 fights has established himself as a legend in the MMA Welterweight category. (NAN)