2019, without any iota of doubt, has been an amazing year for sports globally, but more rewarding for stars of Nigerian descent like Anthony Joshua, Israel Adesanya and Kamaru Usman who are plying their passion on the international stage.
From football to boxing and UFC, there are clear twists and turns to life as sports stars of Nigerian descent moved from the mid-side of societal chain to the top ladder of recognition.
Legit.ng meanwhile brings 5 stars of Nigerian descent who are the biggest winners of the year, as 2019 dives into its twilight stage.
1. Tammy Abraham
Born by parents of Nigerian roots, Tammy Abraham rose through the rank to become one of the biggest revelations of the year for Premier League giants Chelsea.
Abraham was handed a starting role in the beginning of the current season, and he has not ceased keeping Frank Lampard's faith in him high.
The 22-year-old is second Premier League top scorer with 12 goals in just 16 appearances for Chelsea behind Leicester City's Jamie Vardy.
Interestingly, he was called into the England senior team by Gareth Southgate in recognition of his overwhelming performances for Blues.
2. David Alaba
With a threatening presence in Bayern Munich's defence, David Alaba has proved his worth again this year, giving some flashes of brilliance that mark him out as one of the indispensable stars of the German giants.
Although he plays for Austria, the 27-year-old defender has a link to Nigeria and his third name "Olatukunbo" speaks volumes on his strong roots with his father's country.
Alaba was recently named Austria's player of 2019 after his fabulous stint for Bayern Munich.
3. Israel Adesanya
For Israel "Stylebender" Adesanya, Nigerian-New Zealander UFC champion, 2019 has been a rewarding year capped with grand superior success in mixed martial art.
The 30-year-old animie-loving fighter defeated American Robert Whittaker at the Marvel Stadium in Melbourne, Australia to become the UFC undisputed middleweight champion of the world.
Israel, who has never been defeated since his debut in UFC with MMA record of 18-0, has always aligned with his roots.
The octagon king identifies with his roots by coming to Nigeria in June where he had an amazing tour with his belt before the Whittaker fight.
Capping it all for the tough fighter, Israel prostrated to his parents in the process in a courageous show of his Nigerian culture after victory over New Zealand-born Australian.
Nothing describes him other than a winner!
4. Kamaru Usman
Widely known as "Nigerian nightmare," his self-given pseudonym, nothing describes Kamaru Usman other than a nightmare tag he adorns himself with.
The UFC star walked into the octagon like a warrior and proved he is one with an awe-inspiring performance that will go down as one of the best in the history of UFC on Sunday, December 15.
Usman was on breath-taking form as he defeated his US challenger Colby Covington through a brutal knock-out to retain his UFC welterweight belt.
Usman became the undisputed UFC welterweight champ earlier this year with a defeat of American fighter and actor Tyron Woodley.
The Auchi-born star replicated his ruthless dominance on Covington in a fight that saw him break the jaw on his challenger.
From a son of immigrants to world champion, Usman is one of the biggest winners of 2019.
5. Anthony Joshua
Born Anthony Oluwafemi Olaseni Joshua, the British-Nigerian boxer is the current unified world heavyweight champion, a title he reclaimed following his crucial win over Mexican star Andy Ruiz on December 7
Nothing describes Joshua than a boxer determined to conquer the world.
He was handed his first career defeat by Andy Ruiz at Madison Park in New York on June 29, 2019, signalling an end to his reign.
But like a true Nigerian, Joshua - earlier written off by teeming legion of his critics - put in breath and blood from intense six-month hard training to enthrone himself as king of the heavyweight division again.
The boxing star toed the path of the great fighters (Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson and Lennox Lewis) who bounced back after suffering defeats.
Joshua is a true world champion, a Nigerian by heart despite representing Britain at the global boxing stage.
Nigerians react to Anthony Joshua’s win over Ruiz, tip him to crush Wilder, Fury | Legit TV