Jimi “Poster Boy” Manuwa was scheduled to fight the ever-fleeing Glover Teixeira at UFC Sao Paulo on September 22nd but Teixeira had to withdraw from the fight due to a shoulder injury leaving the fifth-ranked light heavyweight without a dancing partner for the main event.
The UFC opted for middleweight Thiago Santos to fill the void but the Englishman was not overeager to accept the fight and openly admits he had to be persuaded to accept the fight with dangerous Brazilian.
“I didn’t see any incentive in taking the fight because it was coming from a middleweight,” “Poster Boy” said. “I wanted a good name, so I wasn’t really interested in fighting, but then the UFC persuaded me to take the fight. I had a little think about it, and Thiago Santos is a good fighter, so I accepted the fight.”
The heavy-handed light heavyweight says that money was not the deciding factor in his decision.
“Sometimes you want to step up and … not do favours, but you’ve gotta tell me incentives to take the fight,” Manuwa said. “They explained to me, I had a talk with my coaches and my team and we accepted the fight.
“Everyone else didn’t make sense,” Manuwa said when asked if Santos was the only optioned offered. “Everyone that was worth fighting already was matched up. It was very hard in the light heavyweight division because people were fighting or injured or unranked.
“The UFC knows they have to put a good event, a good opponent for me when I’m fighting because they know I’ll always put on a good show, I always come for the knockout. We’re going to put on a great main event for Sao Paulo. I look forward to coming there.”
Coming off two straight losses to Volkan Oezdemir and Jan Blachowicz the 38-year-old was looking forward to finally getting his hands on Teixeira but expects to pick up some Brazilian fans when he meets Thiago Santos in the centre of the octagon, and despite knowing that a victory over the Brazillian won’t help him climb up the rankings “Poster Boy” is assured his place in the rankings will be cemented with a victory. Manuwa is eyeing another knockout to add to his ever-growing highlight reel and doesn’t expect the fight to go past two rounds but respects the weapons and the athlete that Brazil has in Santos.
“Every fighter in the UFC is good, I don’t underrate any fighter. I’m training very hard,” Manuwa said. “I see he’s a good fighter, was a big middleweight, so coming up to light heavyweight shouldn’t be a problem for him. I look forward to the challenge. I always look forward to the challenge.
“I look forward to coming to Brazil. I love Brazil, I’ve always wanted to come to Brazil, and I’m coming to collect some new Brazilian fans because I know Brazilians love a good fight, they love a good knockout, and that’s what I’m coming to give them.”
When asked about the future of the UFC light heavyweight division and his thoughts on the two-division champion Manuwa said: “Cormier is a good champion, and I believe he’s got integrity and I believe he will do the right thing when it comes to the light heavyweight division. I think he will either defend it or vacate it.”
So there we have it, Jimi Manuwa vs Thiago Santos as the main event. How will it end who knows? but one thing is certain, one man is going to hit the canvas like they’ve just been hit by a bus!