The Nigerian featherweight is undefeated in the UFC, and is looking to continue his push for a ranking next to his name.
Sodiq Yusuff has been tearing it up in the cage since his Dana White Contender Series fight in July of 2018. On a five fight win streak, three of which came under the UFC name, Yusuff believes it is time he gets someone who can push him into a ranking next to his own name in the division.
“I want someone ranked. I’m not one to ask for certain fighters but I want to push myself and prove that I’m one of the top featherweights in the world Yusuff” told myMMAnews.
It’s not surprising in the slightest that Yusuff believes he is ready for a big name opponent in this stacked division. The 26 year old has won ten of eleven career fights and is on a hot streak with his fellow Nigerians currently 22-1 in their last 23 UFC bouts. At only 26 many already see Yusuff as a future champion in one of the UFC’s toughest divisions, and Yusuff himself sees it too.
“I’m glad people believe in me, people see what I see in my skills” Yusuff stated. “It is pretty special to hear that though, still young in my career but folks are seeing the potential in me, now it is my job to keep raising the bar higher and reach the goals I set.”
The support for Yusuff has only helped his UFC journey, not only the support of the locals who have watched him on the regional scene for years, but the support of a whole African nation back home in Nigeria. It isn’t the idea of being a champion, or the reality of being a UFC fighter pushing for a ranking, no the most surreal thing for Yusuff is being a role model to the youth of his country.
“The UFC feels normal to me now, I know a lot of people still say they can’t believe they are here but I knew I’d get here” Yusuff told MyMMANews. “The surreal part is being someone people look up to in Nigeria, I was once that young kid with a dream and now those kids watch me and I’m living their dream, that is just insanely special man. It helps me push to be better everyday, my people are with me.”
It is a factual statement that the Nigerian people are with Sodiq, and why wouldn’t they be? It is a Nigerian takeover in the UFC right now. Kamaru Usman is a champion, Isreal Adesanya is an interim champion and Yusuff is looking to follow their path to greatness. Yusuff is not only a fan favorite in his native country but is here in America, his home, as well. It is for good reason, not only does he entertain but he sends most of his money earned back home to his family in Nigeria, a true family man.
“I’ve been doing that since the regional days, I’d make very little in the regional scene and it wouldn’t matter much to me here but overthere it would help a lot, so I’d sent my whole check” Yusuff explained. “I still do it, I send most of my money to them to help them. My goal is to get them over here to see me fight live and join me in America so they can live the dream as well.”
Sodiq told us how he just sent his sister a lot of money to help her with her future and that with that money she can be successful now. He also stated that he is closing in on his goal to get them all over here to join him in America. As for the rest of the year, Yusuff wants a fourth fight in this calendar year, and wants to go four for four and end the year ranked in the top ten.
“I fought at the very end of 2018, twice in 2019 so one more fight this year I could go four for four, that is a goal of mine” Yusuff told MyMMANews. “I’ve been fighting all over, that DC card, I’m from Maryland, that would be a home card for me, I want that to end the year. I don’t care who, but I want that card and I want a fourth win and to be ranked after that one to end out the year.”
Yusuff is looking to stay active and victorious, continued success in the cage is something he has watched from his friend and countrymen champion Kamaru Usman. Yusuff is building his career gameplan around the success Usman has found that led him to a title shot in early 2019, and a victory led him to being the champion.
“Kamaru has been giving me advice since I was in the regional circuit, he’s a good friend and a great guy” Yusuff stated. “I see him holding that belt for a minute, no one is taking it for a while. I’m excited for that Covington fight, they got very similar styles and they hate each other so I’m excited to watch my boy do some work.”
With the current success of Nigerian fighters, why wouldn’t you base your game plan off of one of these fighters. At 10-1 in his young career, the Nigerian Yusuff is looking to continue his success into the end of the year, and work his way up the rankings. The sky is the limit for this entertainer, and who knows, a new future Nigerian champion could be in the making.
A Boston native, lover of sports (yes Boston Sports) and MMA. Covering the Northeast regional scene. A contributor with myMMAnews, Cageside Press and Fancied MMA