Nigerian-Canadian fighteris riding the wave following his victory over the weekend.
Following his win over the weekend, Hakeem “The mean” Dawodu is yet another Nigerian making waves in the world of combat sports.
Dawodu beat American fighter Mike Trizano with a unanimous decision at UFC Fight Night 200 in Las Vegas.
Dawodu has long been seen as the face of the UFC in Canada. Here are five facts about the fighter:
1.) He had a Difficult Childhood
Dawodu was born in Calgary to a Nigerian mother and Jamaican father. His mother, who had Hakeem in her teens was forced to raise the future MMA fighter by herself as his Dad was deported back to his native Jamaica before Hakeem had even turned 7.
2.) He could have been a Kickboxing Champion
Dawodu is a renowned kickboxer and had won a few titles before his MMA career kicked off.
In 2010, Dawodu became the International Kickboxing Federation (IKF) World Classic Muay Thai Rules Welterweight Champion. and won gold at the International Federation of Muaythai Amateur (IFMA) World Cup Tournament in the -63.5kg category.
3.) He found MMA in Prison
Way back in 2005, Dawodu was serving time in a juvenile detention center. It was during this time that his counsellor introduced him to kickboxing. He was so good that he was advice to take up Muay Thai ( an advanced form of kick-boxing) training to help him control his anger.
Just five years later, Dawodu would become the World Classic Muay Thai Rules Welterweight Champion
4.) He has an intimidating record
Since becoming a fighter, Dawodu recorded 42 wins and 5 losses as an amateur from July 2010 to October 2012. Even when he turned professional, he recorded 9 wins and 0 losses from November 2012 to January 2015.
His first major loss was to Danny Henry in the UFC back in 2018.
5.) He almost quit
In his post-match conference on Saturday, Dawodu revealed that he has been struggling with injuries and it had damaged his confidence.
“Honestly, I didn’t even want to share this. But tonight was one of those, ‘If I lose again, I’m retiring.
“I was coming off a serious injury – I had a herniated disc in my vertebrae. I’ve just had bad luck. This was the first time I’ve had a fight where I’ve been injury-free, so tonight was kind of do or die.” the fighter said.
With the UFC gaining more traction in Canada, we can expect to see more of Hakeem “The Mean” Dawodu.