In the One Piece universe, initially the character Luffy’s connection to the Sun God Nika was a secret no one knew. The surprising thing is that an unexpected character may have known this secret a long time ago, even before Luffy awakened Gear 5.
Chapter 1101 reveals that Kuma visited Foosha Village when Luffy was young. He saw Luffy practice and show off his devil fruit powers. Considering Luffy knows stories about Nika, including Nika possessing a rubber body, Kuma would have thought about the connection between Luffy and Nika when witnessing his power.
Kuma’s suspicions about Luffy’s true identity seemed to be reinforced in the Sabaody Archipelago, when Luffy attacked a Celestial Dragon. This would explain Kuma’s actions at Sabaody, when protecting Luffy and his companions, as well as the Thousand Sunny. Kuma believes that Luffy is Nika, and this drives his subsequent decisions and actions.
This chapter also confirms that Kuma knows Luffy is Dragon’s son and suggests that this is not the only reason for Kuma to protect Luffy. While Kuma’s relationship with Dragon and the Revolutionary Army may have influenced his actions, it is believed that Luffy’s resemblance to Nika was the main deciding factor.
The reveal of Kuma’s role in the story opens up a number of new mysteries, promising a deeper exploration of the god Nika. The Buccaneer race’s worship of Nika also seems very interesting. Kuma, with his recently discovered connection to Luffy and Nika, is establishing himself as a central character in the Egghead Island arc and the overall One Piece saga.