It was known for a while that #JimiManuwa would making the trip to Anaheim for UFC 214, but only last week was it announced that he would be fighting on the card.
Earlier this week, the UFC released the news that Manuwa will take on #VolkanOezdemir on July 29. Speaking to Champions.co this past weekend at #CageWarriors84, Manuwa described how the bout came together.
“I knew I was going to be on the Anaheim card, but we didn’t have an opponent yet,” Manuwa said. “We were talking about Misha Cirkunov, but then he took a loss to Oezdemir. So, we then decided it was going to be Oezdemir—Oezdemir is going to get it on July 29 and that’s it.”
Manuwa was front row and centre last weekend at #UFCStockholm and witnessed Oezdemir’s 30-second knockout of Cirkunov up close. The Londoner said it was impressive, but that it didn’t really tell him much about his future opponent.
“I was there,” Manuwa confirmed. “He did 30-seconds work on Micha and yeah, it was a good fight, but you couldn’t really tell much from those 30-seconds you know. He’s had two fights now: OSP and obviously Micha. He’s making noise. He’s a good fighter and everything. I know I’m going to have to do work on July 29.”
Another man keeping an eye on the title picture is Manuwa’s teammate, Gustafsson. Manuwa said he was delighted with the Swede’s performance last Saturday.
“Sick fight. I was so proud of him, in front of his hometown as well,” Manuwa said. “He put on a masterful performance and it just goes to show—this is what I train with each and every day and it just goes to show that our levels are high.”
While Manuwa is going to be in Anaheim for his own fight, he also confirmed that he will jump in as a replacement should either of the main event fighters Daniel Cormier or Jon Jones get injured.
“100-percent I’ll be keeping my eye on it,” Manuwa said. “100-percent that’s the plan—for me to jump in if one of them goes and pulls out anyway.”
The Londoner also predicted that he gets his fight with Oezdemir over and done with quickly. Anyone who’s seen his last two victories may want to think again before betting against it.
“Knockout,” Manuwa said without needing to think. “Even If he doesn’t try and take me down, I’ll sprawl, get back up, and then I’ll knock him out. That’s how I’m going to do it. That’s how everyone is getting it—by knockout. That’s the only way to finish the fight for me.”
Manuwa won’t be stopping at just Oezdemir though. After he’s beaten the Swiss, Manuwa has eyes on the gold and he’s ready to take out either Jones or Cormier to get his hands on the title.
“Jones wins—I fight Jones, and then I knock him out,” Manuwa says. “If DC wins I’ll knock him out within the second round.”
Speaking in an interview with MMAJunkie just days before, Manuwa called Cormier a “Schoolyard bully” and blasted him for his constant trash talking. The light heavyweight contender elaborated on what he meant by that
“He’s just like one of those big kids in school who you know, like the school bully,” Manuwa said. “That’s how he comes across to me—with a loudmouth and an irritating voice and that. You know, he’s a champion and he can say what he wants—he’s making the most of him being a champion and making as much noise as he can. That’s it to me.”
With his next fight signed Manuwa laid out the plan for next couple of weeks. As per his last few fights, he will start his camp in the UK and then take residence in Stockholm, Sweden to sharpen his skills in final few weeks.
“I just got back to London now so I’m going to be spending a few weeks in London preparing,” Manuwa said. “I’m going to be getting my body in physical shape with my team at Bounce gym. Getting my hands sharp, getting my MMA striking, kickboxing at Keddle’s Gym with Dino Miringou, and getting my jiu-jitsu ready with Ricardo da Silva, Nova Forca, and just getting my game ready to destroy these people. Then I’ll go to Sweden and spar under Andreas Michael at AllStars Gym and then that’s it—we’re getting ready for war.”
Not one for trash talking, Manuwa resisted the temptation to send out a message to the rest of the UFC light heavyweight division. As far as he’s concerned, he’ll let his fighting do his talking for him.
“There is no message, they can see for themselves,” Manuwa said. “it’s clear for everyone to see. I’m right there, I’m number three.”
#UFC214 goes down on July 29 with Daniel Cormier and Jon Jones battling it out for the UFC light heavyweight title in the main event.