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Former Arizona DL Mohammed Usman featured in new season of 'The Ultimate Fighter,' wins first bout

Mohammed Usman hopes to be the next member of his family to fight in the UFC, and he recently took another step forward to achieving that goal. 

The former Arizona defensive lineman is one of several fighters featured on the 30th season of "The Ultimate Fighter," a TV show on ESPN+ that pairs up top up-and-coming MMA fighters, with an opportunity to sign a UFC contract. 

The 238-pound Usman, who played football at the UA under then head coach Mike Stoops during the 2010 and '11 seasons, is one of the heavyweight fighters on coach Julianna Peña's team; opponents are on Amanda Nunes' team. 

Set at the UFC Apex Center in Las Vegas, Usman, the younger brother of UFC welterweight champion Kamaru "Nigerian Nightmare" Usman, advanced to the second round of the show after beating Mitchell Sipe by unanimous decision in the latest episode of The Ultimate Fighter, eliminating the fellow heavyweight from the field. 

In the third episode of the new season, Usman revealed to teammate Chantel Coates that his two-year-old son Nash died from a drowning accident in 2019. 

"That's my motivation. ... He's the main reason why I fight. When I first had him, I would just look at him in his eyes and was like, 'Your dad is not a normal person. I'm going to show that your dad is gifted and he's blessed,'" Usman said on the third episode.

Usman added he's dedicating the new season to his late son. 

Usman, who was born in Nigeria before his family moved to Texas, will have a chance to earn a six-figure contract during a finale episode that has yet to be scheduled. 

Contact sports producer Justin Spears at 573-4312 or jspears@tucson.com. On Twitter: @JustinESports


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Sports producer

Justin writes stories and produces digital content about UA football and basketball and high school football. A Tucson native, Justin graduated from the UA in 2017 and is the host of the Wildcast Podcast and a radio host on ESPN Tucson.

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