Even before Sodiq Yusuff made his splash on UFC Tuesday Night Contender Series last July, he was sending most of his fight money back to his family and the people in his sister’s neighborhood back in Ikorodu, Lagos, Nigeria.
His brothers Tope and Ayotunde, and his sister Omotayo, where treating his meager contributions as life-altering events. But before he took on Suman Mokhtarian in his first official UFC fight in December, 2018 tragedy struck.
His older brother Tope, a constant positive force in his life, caught typhoid fever, slipped into a coma, and died. Sodiq was informed about it by his mom only a week before he boarded a plane for his next fight. It was with all of that on his mind that he traveled from Baltimore to Australia for his fight with Mokhtarian.
After he won the bout via first-round TKO, Sodiq dedicated the victory to Tope. And only then — two weeks after being dealt the biggest blow of his life — did he allow himself the chance to grieve the loss of his older brother, who was just 32 at the time of his passing.
“He was one of my biggest supporters, He was always telling me I’m the best in the world and stuff like that, so you know I’ve kept that in the back of my head through practice.
Yusuff driven to give back to his people, sees his success and visibility as inspirational for kids growing up in impoverished circumstances. The death of his brother has only strengthened his resolve.
25-years old Yusuff who went to the States from Nigeria when he was just nine years old competes as a featherweight and is among the current wave of African-born fighters to make waves in the UFC.
As he gets set to face Brazil’s Sheymon Moraes his wish is to break into the UFC’s top-15 rankings in 2019.
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