The name Njokuani isn’t one that’s easy to forget.
In the world of MMA it’s synonymous with knockouts, usually of the devastating variety. And while many fans might think that name goes with only UFC lightweight Anthony Njokuani, everyone will soon know the name of his younger brother, Chidi Njokuani.
A striker with annihilating power of his own, Chidi Njokuani has built himself into the next big thing, and he hopes to take the next step to joining his brother in the UFC when he headlines this weekend’s Ring of Fire card in Denver.
The younger Njokuani brother currently holds a 5-2 record, but it’s those two losses that came in back-to-back fights that led to his current three fight win streak, with all of them coming by way of knockout or TKO.
“Before, I really just didn’t take fighting that seriously,” Njokuani told MMAWeekly.com. “I was young, but I got a little more experience from it and I realized how crappy losing was and I didn’t want to have that feeling again.”
Chidi also had a very wise influence with him the entire time pushing him in the right direction. Older brother Anthony, who is currently sitting in the lightweight division in the UFC, told his younger sibling what exactly he was doing right and what he was doing wrong.
Unlike a trainer or even a sparring partner that pushes your buttons, there’s no firing or getting away from family and so Anthony used a method called “tough love” to get his brother into fighting shape.
“He’s somebody I look up to,” Chidi said about his brother. “He’s always trying to lead me on the right path. Watching him in fights and winning makes me want to push myself harder and get better.”
So is Anthony willing to push Chidi past the breaking point to make sure he’s ready for a fight?
“All the time, but he is my older brother so he’s more of like a father figure, so he’s always the one telling me the harsh things,” Njokuani stated.
This weekend Njokuani will look to add the Ring of Fire title to his trophy case, as he attempts to take steps towards a future alongside his brother in the UFC. Trying to build his own career is current Ring of Fire champion Brandon Thatch, who, much like Njokuani, is known as a devastating striker.
The two headline Saturday night’s Ring of Fire event at the 1stBank Center in Broomfield, Colo.
When Njokuani hears that an opponent is a fellow stand-up artist, he smiles and licks his chops at the prospect of somebody actually standing and trading shots with him, but ultimately he has a pretty good idea of what’s going to happen in the fight.
“That’s what I look for, exciting fights to stand and bang, but nine times out of 10 they always dive in and try to take me down, so we’ll see,” he predicted.
If Njokuani is successful, it will be his fourth win in a row, and while he definitely wants to make the Octagon his home, he’s only worried about one thing right now and that’s winning the Ring of Fire title this weekend and making his older brother proud.
“My biggest goal is to be the UFC or Strikeforce, but I just take it one fight at a time, no matter the opponent, no matter who they are, what kind of record they have,” Njokuani said. “My long term goal though is to be in the UFC.”