- Record: 7-2
- Place of birth: Auchi, Nigeria
- Fight From: Denver, Colorado
- Age: 33 years old
- Stat: 3 wins by KO, 2 by submission
Welcome to UFC APEX and congratulations on competing in the 30th season of The Ultimate Fighter. How does it feel to have this opportunity?
It’s amazing to have this opportunity. It was good. I felt like it was the right time, the right time for me in my MMA journey. I had everyone’s blessing and it just felt right, it just felt organic. I’m just here to compete and show them why I belong here.
When you started your MMA journey, you said your brother Kamaru Usman was worried about you and a little hesitant. When you told him you had a chance to compete in this season of The Ultimate Fighter, did he believe you were ready?
Yeah, all around. When I told my brother about it, he was very excited. It was just time. I’m going to do six years now in MMA. I had ups and downs. I spent that time, I suffered losses and victories, and all of that prepared me for this opportunity and this moment.
One of your two losses comes from current UFC veteran Don’Tale Mayes. Either way, losses are learning experiences. Having competed against a guy like Mayes and with six years of training under your belt, do you think the experience will give you an edge over your opponents?
Oh, man. Don’Tale, in the end, is just a fighter. I learn from my mistakes. I don’t lose, I learn. It’s not a loss, it’s a learning experience. I was very early in MMA and I still remember that fight like it was yesterday. I was just there catching it. I couldn’t even throw direct hits or anything. I held on and lost by decision in that fight. It showed me, it even showed my brother, that I can really do this. We did three laps. It was exciting because I showed myself that I could do it. I could fight for three rounds and not just put guys away. I can go in there, 15 minutes of a grueling fight, and get out of there. It was really good for me to experience that and fight someone of that caliber. It really prepared me to be able to compete at the highest level.
When you compare yourself to the Mohammed who fought Mayes six years ago, how much has your game evolved?
My progress in MMA is huge. I’ve evolved on so many levels of the game, of my IQ, just knowing how to fight in there and create opportunities. Because when you’re young in MMA, you just grab people and kind of just get in there instead of setting traps and being able to create openings that we want. So, I feel like I have evolved enormously in the game to be able to create opportunities for myself to succeed.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but do you also train with Zac Pauga? He is one of the other heavyweights you will face this season.
Yes, I trained with Zac. I trained quite well with him. I train with a lot of guys in Colorado. It’s a great group of guys. Zac is a good guy, he’s a great guy. I’m all for him having that opportunity, too. I just can’t wait to get in there and compete.