Kamaru Usman only started getting into MMA after meeting Jon Jones at a party

UFC legends Jon Jones and Kamaru Usman have had storied careers, with both men dominating the sport in their respective eras. However, it all began one fateful night during their first year in college when Jones introduced Usman to the world of MMA.

Usman had never seen MMA before, but during a visit to Jones in Iowa, they were invited to a house party to watch a MMA bout. It was there that Usman saw Randy Couture against someone and was amazed by the intensity of the sport.

“My freshman year was the first time I saw the sport of Mixed Martial Arts on television,” Usman told Mike Tyson on his Hot Boxin’ podcast. “I was actually on my fall break, I went up to Fort Dodge in Iowa to visit my friend at the time Jon Jones who was a freshman in school there.

“So I go to visit him and while we’re there we get invited to this house party by a friend of the team to come and watch fights. I was just like ‘let’s go’ with my friends and we go to the house party to watch fights and it’s cage fighting. I believe it was maybe Randy Couture fighting somebody.

“We’re watching it and I’m there like ‘these dudes are crazy, they’re punching, kicking and elbowing each other,’ and this guy goes ‘you should do that’ and me and Jon looked at each other like ‘man, we ain’t doing that s***.’ No way in hell. That was the first time we ever saw fighting.”

Despite being encouraged by a partygoer to give it a shot, Usman was hesitant to pursue MMA. However, during a summer off-season, he was inspired by friends Joe and Jake Ellenberger to give it a try. After training with ‘King Mo’ Lawal, he met Rashad Evans, who convinced him of the earning potential in the sport.


Usman had a background in wrestling from his college and high school days, making him a natural fit for MMA. He began to train in boxing with coach Barry Hunter at the Olympic Training Centre and initially planned to make the Olympic team. However, he soon realized that MMA was the better option.

Usman went on to become a dominant force in the UFC, losing only once in his professional career until a stunning upset by Leon Edwards in a rematch last summer. While Usman takes time off to deal with injuries, Jones is preparing for his first heavyweight title defense against Stipe Miocic.