Jimi Manuwa wants title shot and could get it

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Jimi Manuwa knocked out Corey Anderson in the main event of UFC Fight Night 107 on Saturday night, and called for a title shot at the post fight press conference. UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier fights Anthony Johnson in the main event of UFC 210 on April 8. Former division champion Jon Jones comes back from suspension this summer, Manuwa only wants the winner on April 8.

“I’m not interested in Jon Jones,” said Manuwa, as transcribed by Shaun Al-Shatti for MMA Fighting. “Jon Jones takes steroids and now he’s been banned for steroids. Before, I was a big fan of Jon Jones, the things he’s done in the Octagon and everything, but he’s been suspended for a year or something and he’s had issues before. He’s a great fighter. I greatly respect him, but he’s been banned for steroids and that taints everything that he’s done. So, I’m not really interested. When he comes back, I’ll fight him, no problem. But I’m focused on the belt right now, and that’s going to be the winner of DC and ‘Rumble’ Johnson.”

Jones failed a test not for steroids but due to a tainted, bootleg, erectile dysfunction drug. He may get an immediate title shot upon his return.

“Possibly,” said Manuwa. “But to me, whatever happens, happens. I will be fighting the elite fighters in the world, and I don’t know, we’ll see what happens. He’s back in July or something. [Cormier and Johnson] are fighting next month, so the fight could be made before he comes back anyway, so we’ll see what happens. I’m going to fly to Vegas to meet with Dana after this and we’ll see what happens.”

“Me and ‘Rumble’ Johnson are two of the hardest hitters and the most exciting fighters in the light heavyweight division, and I’d love to get a rematch with him to avenge my loss. Because I made some silly mistakes with my weight and my striking as well. So, I’d like to avenge that loss against the most feared man probably on the UFC roster in ‘Rumble’ Johnson.

“But then again, DC is a great champion. He’s feared, and he’s beat the guy I’m talking about, he’s beat Alex, he’s beat a lot of guys in the division. So I’d like to fight him as well.”

“Listen, I don’t turn down anybody. I’m not scared of anybody. Everyone bleeds. Everyone feels pain. And I’ve proven through my career that I’m not scared to fight anybody, because it’s mixed martial arts. Everyone feels pain, everyone bleeds the same, except if you’re out taking steroids. That’s what I’ve got a problem with. So it is what it is. I’ll fight Jon Jones, no problem.”

If Jones returns and gets the winner of DC vs. Rumble, then Manuwa is out of a title shot. And either DC or Rumble could get hurt, and Manuwa would be out of a title shot, or could get one. But DC vs. Rumble could happen as scheduled. And Jon Jones could screw up again. If history is a guide, he will. Without Jones, Manuwa could be next in line

Champion Daniel Cormier fights #1 contender Anthony Johnson in April. #2 Alexander Gustafsson fights #3 Glover Teixeira on May 28 at UFC Fight Night 109. Manuwa lost to both Gus and AJ, but is now on a two-fight win streak. If Rumble beats DC the title fight will probably go to the winner of Gus vs. Glover, which is probably Gus. But if DC wins, given that he defeated both in 2015, Manuwa could get a shot, particularly of the UFC wants to give Cormier a fight where the odds makers will see him as the favorite.