Impa Kasanganay was homeless just one year before he became a mixed martial arts world champion and millionaire.
Last Friday, ‘Tshilobo’ picked up a unanimous decision win over Josh Silveira to win the Professional Fighters League (PFL) light heavyweight tournament.
In doing so, he was crowned the new PFL champion at 205lbs and walked away with a $1 million bonus, which was awarded to all six of the new champions crowned on the night.
Kasanganay fell victim to one of the most famous knockouts in UFC history when he ate a Joaquin Buckley jumping spinning back kick to the face in October 2020.
After suffering a viral KO, the 29-year-old lost two of his next three fights and his life spiralled out of control when he was released by MMA’s premier promotion.
“A year ago (I was living in my car) I was there for six months. Then I moved to the farm, and I lived there for a while.”
“I enjoyed the farm, but I think it was a time when it was unorganised on my part. I was unorganised in general, and I wasn’t standing up for what I should want and need in life.”
With some help from those closest to him, Kasanganay got back on his feet and rediscovered the form that convinced Dana White he had world-class potential.
“I believe this kid is going to be in the top five and potentially a world champion one day,” the UFC CEO said after initially opting against signing Kasanganay in 2019.
Five wins later, the American is a world champion and millionaire.
Kasanganay plans to help as many people as he can with his newfound fortune.
He added: “I’ve got plans, for sure. I wanna invest some money.”
“Most of it, I wanna do some philanthropic work. I want to help my people back in Congo, here in the United States, people in New York, and people all around the world.”
“The fun things I’m going to buy are a motorcycle and a shotgun, but I’m going to take care of my training partners, coaches and the people who helped me get here.
“I’ll save the rest. I don’t really live a crazy life.”
More money will soon come if Kasanganay’s career plan works out.
The 15-3 MMA star hopes to take on former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou at some point, but first, he expects to square off against Bellator light heavyweight champion Vadim Nemkov.