UFC 258: Champ Kamaru Usman on Getting in Fight Shape

The long-awaited showdown between welterweight champion Kamaru Usman and top contender Gilbert Burns is finally here, airing tomorrow, February 13th.

33-year-old Nigerian-born, Texas-raised Usman has been unbeatable since 2013, with a 16-fight win streak. As one of the best fighters on the UFC roster since his debut, he has remained undefeated and captured the welterweight crown.

Over the course of a few weeks, we spoke to Usman from training camp in Denver, where he’s been preparing for UFC 258 with coach Trevor Wittman. The “Nigerian Nightmare” broke down his full regimen for us, from his fueling plan to his training, including exclusive footage of some simple basics any guy can do (yes, even you) to get in fighting shape.


“We try to make the regimen more endurance based, all the while keeping my strength and my power as well. It’s been working great.”

kamaru usman on leo edit
Photo by Terrence Whitman.

“I’m such a muscular fighter, and we all know muscular guys require a bit more—a lot of them don’t have very good endurance because they carry so much more muscle. So I’m kind of the outlier to where I want to have endurance while carrying that much muscle.”


“I had some stem cell stuff done a couple months back and one of the restrictions is coffee. I’ve kind of broken that.”

kamaru usman on leo edit
Photo by Terrence Whitman.

“The one thing that’s a bummer for me is that I have a head-clock, and I’ve had one since high school. So I’m up at 6:30am every day, even a little before that. I’m always up. It doesn’t matter if I go to bed at 5am, I’m up at 6:30am.”

kamaru usman on leo edit
Photo by Patrick Reagan.

“The last three fights I’ve trained for, my opponents have been similar guys— to where I needed to train the same way and diet the same way. So that’s a good thing.”

Favorite Equipment

“The equipment I like to use are resistance bands. They work great. You can get a full, long workout just with those.”

kamaru usman on leo edit
Photo by Patrick Reagan.

Altitude vs Sea Level

kamaru usman on leo edit
Photo by Terrence Whitman.

“I’m training in Denver because my coach is here. So I’m training at altitude. It’s a little tougher for the body to be able to recover, because you don’t have as many red blood cells, so the body is working overtime to try to compensate. It wasn’t necessarily a conscious choice, but it doesn’t necessarily hurt. If the fight is at altitude, and he’s not trained like I am here, at altitude, then it is a huge advantage. If I come down and fight at sea level, it doesn’t make as much of a difference. 

Fueling Plan


“My plan is geared towards being able to run off of carbs and that high carbohydrate-based diet so I can go for a long time, kind of like a marathon fighter. Where at the same time, I can keep my muscle and my strength.”

Training with Kamaru Usman

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The Nigerian Nightmare

kamaru usman on leo edit
Photo by Patrick Reagan.

Fight Card


APEX in Las Vegas

  • Kamaru Usman vs. Gilbert Burns
  • Maycee Barber vs. Alexa Grasso
  • Kelvin Gastelum vs. Ian Heinisch
  • Pedro Munhoz vs. Jimmie Rivera
  • Maki Pitolo vs. Julian Marquez
  • Jim Miller vs. Bobby Green
  • Rudolfo Vieira vs. Anthony Hernandez
  • Belal Muhammad vs. Dhiego Lima
  • Polyana Viana vs. Mallory Martin