Kamaru Usman is a Nigerian-American mixed martial artist who competes in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, where he is the current UFC Welterweight Champion.
Usman was awarded his bjj black belt by Jorge Santiago following his last fight.
Usman recently shared with JRE how a loss inspired him to accent gi training. Here’s what he had to say:
“I’d never had a gi before, but I started training with Jorge Santiago my jiu jitsu coach every f*cking morning. He just gave me my black belt after my last fight.” Kamaru Usman
“I get in the fight, I throw a one/two, then his legs are right there so I hit him with a double. Within 15 seconds I’m in full mount, not really knowing what I’m doing but I’m trying to throw punches. I think (Jose) Caceres is like 6ft 2 or something like that – he’s got long limbs. He throws his legs around my body, and I’d never seen any s*it like that before (laughs).
“I started to panic and thought I needed to get out, so I did the wrong thing and turned my body to get up and walk away. He followed me and just climbed up on my back; we’re not even sweaty yet. I hold him off for about a minute and a half trying to fight off this choke; I knew I couldn’t let him down to the floor because I didn’t really know a defence on the ground. He knew what he was doing and me standing up like that started to make my feet shaky. I started to get full of adrenaline when I realised, I was about to lose.
“We had a commission meeting before the fight and I was told if I got choked unconscious I wouldn’t be able to fight for six months. I’m a tough guy, so in my mind I wasn’t going to tap – he needed to put me to sleep. But, it took me eight months to get that fight, and I was broke as s*it, so I started thinking there’s no way I couldn’t fight for another six months. I f*cking tapped. I walked out of that fight and just paced in the back for like two hours.”
“Ever since the loss, I got a f*cking gi,” Usman continued. “I’d never had a gi before, but I started training with Jorge Santiago my jiu jitsu coach every f*cking morning. He just gave me my black belt after my last fight.
“I never worried about that (black belt). Yes, I was beating up blue belts before I was even a white belt because I knew how to grapple through certain things, but I never had those jiu jitsu skills. Santiago kept challenging me and pushing me, so when I got my purple belt I felt like he was alerting other people of what to expect when we were rolling.”