Kamaru Usman Explains How He Made And Spent His First Million Dollars

The UFC Welterweight Champion has been making some money moves.

Kamaru Usman
Kamaru Usman

‘The Nigerian Nightmare’ is living ‘The American Dream’.

Originally an immigrant from overseas, Kamaru Usman would move to the U.S. at 8 years old. 26 years later, the UFC Welterweight Champion has reached the pinnacle of the sport. 

Usman is currently the #1 pound-for-pound fighter on the planet. He would defend his welterweight strap for the 5th time, when he defeated Colby Covington a second time at UFC 268.

Moving on from Madison Square Garden, Usman is counting his money, reaping the rewards from his spotless UFC run. In a recent interview with GQ, the welterweight king would tell of his treasures. He’d explain how he made and how he spent his first million dollars.

Pokémon Dealer

One of his first hustles was actually ‘flipping’ Pokémon cards. (1999-2001) He would buy packs of cards for around $7, find the rare ones in the packs and sell them for $25 to $40 each. 

“That was my hustle,” Usman told GQ. “Everybody had a good Christmas that year.”

The Ultimate Fighter

In 2005, Usman would get the opportunity to be a wrestling coach on season 14 of The Ultimate Fighter. Years later, it would come full circle as he won TUF 21 as a contestant. The wrestling credentials from college would pay off for Usman in the TUF house and eventually in the UFC.


Before ultimately winning the tournament, Usman would work as a server at an Applebee’s chain restaurant. (2009-2010)

“While wrestling, I worked at Applebee’s. It was a fun job, I worked with some very fun people out there in Nebraska. It really helped me understand working for your money.”

Moving Into MMA 

After countless shifts at Applebee’s, Usman would get his MMA career started. He made $2,000 from his MMA debut in 2009, which he considered good. And he even mentioned an additional $250 since his opponent missed weight. 

It was only up from here. Usman got a $50K bonus in his UFC debut against Leon Edwards. However, he didn’t think he was rich until he got to his fourth UFC fight. The ‘rich’ realization for Usman would come after he made $70K against Sean Strickland. 

He revealed his fight against Rafael Dos Anjos was his first fight where he saw six-figures on his paycheck. Then, there would come the championship belt and the money along with it. 

“So, when you become a champion, you’re not just a fighter. You’re a business partner and business has been good… With the performances I’ve been putting on lately, these [bills] are starting to stack up a little bit more and more.”

How Usman Spent His First Million

Now we get to the good part. Usman detailed how he made his first $1M. From selling Pokémon to UFC Championship cuts, he did it all. But now, he explains where his first million went to. 

Here’s a list of Usman’s endeavors, which equal to $1,000,000. 

  • $30K Daughter’s birthday party & new car (Nissan Maxima)
  • $20K Rolex
  • $200K Trainers/coaches
  • $30k Daughter’s schooling
  • $50ok House
  • $60K (Failed) investing*
  • $30K (Successful) investing
  • $80K Another new car (Range Rover)
  • $50K Real estate investing, brother’s wedding

*Usman explains he gave $60K to an investor lady, who he found attractive. He said it was easy to be distracted by her and ultimately gave her the money without too much thought into it.

“I haven’t seen that money since,” Usman said of the associate’s investment. “I don’t think I did my due diligence as far as the homework and the research of this person. I gave her 60 bands and… whew, [it] just flew away.”

Other that experience, Usman has felt good about his financial endeavors. He would later redeem himself by investing again with $30K. It would prove to be a success on his second try. 

The Experience

The UFC Welterweight Champion would finally reflect on his money moves.

“It makes me feel good that (my family) they were able to experience that, that I was able to experience those things. Now, that (the money) is actually in front of you, it’s just paper. But this paper created so many memories in those times. It’s a feeling you can’t replace. You can’t replicate that feeling.

“I’m eternally grateful for this, but at the end of the day, it’s just paper.”

Published on January 26, 2022 at 3:57 pm
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