UFC president Dana White has confirmed that the company is making real progress in the push to take an event to Africa for the first time.
For many years now the Ultimate Fighting Championship has made a real effort to expand into new markets as they continue to further the reach of mixed martial arts on the world stage. They’ve done a great job of building a solid base in North America and Europe, with Asia also being a strong market for them in recent times.
One part of the globe that’s often been overlooked, though, is Africa.
The continent is home to some of the greatest athletes on the planet and that’s especially true for the fight game. Prior to the pandemic hitting, the promotion was very interested in putting on an event there – only for lockdowns to prevent that from happening.
Now, though, after a few years away from consistent travel, they want to get back out on the road and really grow their brand.
The most recent example of them doing that was in France as they put on UFC Paris for the first time earlier this month.
Following UFC 279, Dana White was asked about where they’ll be looking next with Africa being confirmed as one of their priorities.
Video: Dana White confirms UFC Africa plans
“We literally just had a meeting the other day and we’re seriously talking about Africa now. We’re actually starting to look at venues and cities to hold an event. So, Africa is gonna happen very soon.”
The big names
There are plenty of noteworthy African stars on the UFC roster and there are even more making their way up through the ranks in other corners of the MMA sphere. However, three fighters stand out above the rest as guaranteed draws in that market: Francis Ngannou, Israel Adesanya and Kamaru Usman.
These men have been known as the ‘three kings’ in the past and even though Usman lost his belt to Leon Edwards, you can bet he’ll be an important part of this event regardless of whether or not he wins it back.
Other competitors who would love nothing more than to play a big role include Sodiq Yusuff and Dricus du Plessis, and from there, we can only imagine how stacked the rest of the card would be.
As we look ahead to 2023, this is definitely a story to keep an eye on.