Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Casts UFC Welterweight Champ Kamaru Usman In A Small Role

After the tragic passing of Chadwick Boseman, Marvel Studios made the decision to move forward with "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" without the replacing the beloved actor as T'Challa. Instead, it appears that the king of the reclusive warrior nation has also passed on to the Ancestral Plane (or as they said in "Moon Knight," the Astral Plane). Now, others in the Marvel Cinematic Universe like Nakia, M'Baku, and Namor will step up to have much larger parts in Ryan Coogler's follow-up to the massively successful 2018 film.

Although, the characters played by Lupita Nyong'o, Winston Duke, and Tenoch Huerta aren't the only big names in line to step up in the upcoming Phase Four finale. It has just been announced that UFC Welterweight Champion Kamaru Usman will also be appearing in the highly anticipated sequel. Ahead of his next title defense against Leon Edwards at UFC 278 on August 20, 2022, it was revealed that the Nigerian Nightmare will have a cameo in the film. 

News of the mixed martial artist's involvement in the film came from his manager Ali Abdelaziz on Twitter. The CEO of Dominance MMA Management said,"Never listen to nobody who says you can't dream, because this young boy from Nigeria, his dreams are coming true, all you have to do is work hard." The post also included fan art of Usman as the Black Panther.

Way of the warrior

It's currently unclear who Usman will play or just how big his cameo is, but MMA Fighting confirmed the news with additional sources after UFC Hall of Fame Daniel Cormier mentioned the role during the UFC 277 weigh-in. My guess is that he will play himself in a scene where someone from Wakanda (maybe Danai Gurira's Okoye) is attending one of his fights. Wakanda has recently opened their borders, so maybe in addition to a Starbucks or two, that could mean more opportunities for the general of the Dora Milaje to take in some recreational fighting in her down time. Alternatively, Usman could also appear as a member of the Wakandan army. With his build and stature, he certainly looks like he could be a force to be reckoned with on the battlefield as well as the octagon.

Usman's addition to this movie makes him the latest combat sports athlete to join the MCU. Previously, UFC Hall of Fame Georges St.-Pierre appeared as Georges Batroc AKA Batroc the Leaper in "Captain America: The Winter Soldier," "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier," and "What If...?". Plus, Dave Bautista starred in James Gunn's "Guardians of the Galaxy" franchise after his hall of fame-worthy career in WWE. Honestly, it's a little surprising that more MMA fighters and professional wrestlers aren't cast in superhero movies since most of them already look the part. Maybe we'll see more of them follow in The Rock, John Cena, Sasha Banks, and "Stone Cold" Steve Austin's footsteps when they hang up their boots or gloves.

"Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" assembles in theaters on November 11, 2022.