The announcement of JonJones vs. Daniel Cormier II at UFC 214 was met with widespread approval, but not everyone was happy about it.
British light heavyweight Jimi Manuwa has also been in and around the title talk at 205lbs of late, but with Jones and Cormier now set for UFC 214, the Londoner finds himself as the odd man out in the division.
Speaking exclusively to Champions.co earlier today, Manuwa admitted he expected the Jones and Cormier fight was going to be put together, but said he wasn’t sure where it leaves him now.
“I kinda knew it was going to happen when Jones stepped back on the scene,” Manuwa said. “Obviously, DC wanted the bigger fight, and that was the Jones rematch. Jones is obviously one of the greatest of all time, so I couldn’t really argue with that. The problem is that it leaves me in a very weird situation. Gus is fighting Teixeira and I don’t want to go backwards again. I went backwards for the UFC when I fought Corey Anderson and I knocked him out in one round. I need to move forward now, but there’s only Gus, Teixeira, Jones or DC and they are all fighting each other. We will have to see how everything plays out and that.”
Speaking at the #UFC211 summer launch press conference this past weekend, Dana White stated that Manuwa would be brought out as a replacement if either Cormier or Jones were to pull from the fight. Manuwa said he will speak to White this week about the options.
“There’s no one for me to fight,” Manuwa said. “I asked for “Shogun”, but he said no because he’s injured or something until September. There is literally just no one for me to fight. We’re just going to have to see, you know. Like I said, I’m just going to talk to Dana [White] this week and see what they want to do. He had UFC 211, so he was obviously busy this past week, but now he’s got that out the way, we can look ahead and see what he wants to do.”
After defending his title at UFC 210, Cormier talked trash to Manuwa on multiple occasions including his post-fight interview in the Octagon. Suffice to say, Manuwa hasn’t forgotten that and while he respects Cormier as a champion, he says he’d finish him quickly if they were to ever fight.
“Daniel is a fat s*it man—he does a lot of talking, but when it came face-to-face, he didn’t have anything to say,” Manuwa said. “That’s just him and his trash-talking ways, you know. I know myself, when we were face-to-face, that he didn’t have anything to say. I’ll just let him carry on talking. At the end of the day, though, he’s the champion and I think he’s a great fighter. I believe in myself and in my heart that it would take me two rounds to get rid of him. He’s not immune to punches like he thinks he is. It would take me two rounds.”
While Manuwa may have to take a backseat in the UFC light heavyweight title picture, not all doors are closed. The Londoner said he is currently weighing his options at both middleweight or heavyweight.
“I don’t want to wait around right now—I’m in my prime and I’ve got momentum with my last two wins,” Manuwa said. “I don’t want to wait. I’ve been thinking about going up or going down. Right now I’m at 104kg—so I can go up or I can go down. All options are open. I’m just working hard and staying ready.”
With Jon Jones’ history, staying ready is probably the wise move.