Ever since the rise of UFC welterweight, middleweight and heavyweight champions, Kamaru Usman, Israel Adesanya and Francis Ngannou, the concept of an inaugural UFC event in Africa has been speculated, with UFC President, Dana White stating: “We’d love to come to Africa.”
However, due to the pandemic, the UFC haven’t been able to leave the USA and even finding places that would hold events with full capacity crowds was a struggle. Despite this, the UFC have found a way to go overseas and will be in London on March 19th with Tom Aspinall and Alexander Volkov going head to head in the heavyweight division.
With the world steadily going back to normal and many countries loosening lockdown restrictions, we could potentially see the UFC go international once again over the next couple of years, more specifically in Africa, where MMA is growing at a rapid rate.
With welterweight champion, Kamaru Usman, being a major promoter of The AKO Show (The African Knockout Show), the show was attended by many stars such as Burna Boy, Lady Gaga and Nedu Chief Obi, highlighting the relevance of the show and the growth of MMA in Africa. Usman also opened up an MMA gym in Nigeria, where many young talents can develop their craft, which will give the country a wide scope of talent to feature on the event. Francis Ngannou has done the same, opening his free to train gym in Cameroon after his heavyweight title win over Stipe Miocic last year.
There’ll even be another African talent making his debut at UFC 271 this Saturday. Zimbabwean born Kiwi, Mike Mathetha, (Israel Adesanya’s teammate) will be looking to make a big impact in his fight against Jeremiah Wells as he begins his quest to become another African to make a big name for themselves in MMA.
With talent now breeding across Africa, it’s high likely we could see more Africans in major MMA companies such as UFC, Bellator and PFL and a UFC PPV in Africa in the coming years.