Gustafsson gets Jimi Manuwa next

UFC president Dana White said Jimi Manuwa would be getting

“a big fight” next. He wasn’t lying.

Manuwa, the top English prospect, will take on top light

heavyweight contender Alexander Gustafsson in the main event of UFC

Fight Night in London on March 8, it was announced Tuesday on BT

Sport in the United Kingdom.

Manuwa finished Ryan Jimmo by TKO at UFC Fight Night: Machida

vs. Munoz just 11 days ago. The fight was stopped because Jimmo was

injured, but Manuwa was dominant.

This represents a huge step up for the 33-year-old –

Gustafsson is coming off a war with champion Jon Jones in a fight

that many thought the Swede won.

“It’s a great opportunity and I have always said I

will fight anyone,” Manuwa

href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/othersports/ufc/10428879/UFC-Jimi-Manuwa-to-face-No-1-light-heavyweight-contender-Alex-Gustafsson-in-London-main-event.html"

target="_blank">told Gareth Davies of Telegraph Sport.

“It will be a great event, and now I just want to get my

thumb repaired, because I have been scratching the walls because I

just want to get back in the gym.”

The UFC passed up heavyweight Daniel Cormier for this fight,

because he’s “never made it to 205 before,” White

said. It’s likely he wouldn’t want to make that cut for

the first time overseas either.

“Manuwa is undefeated,” White said.

“He’s a big nasty striker.”

A win over Gustafsson would vault Manuwa from little-known

international fighter to the short list of UFC light heavyweight

contenders. And the bout will be in his hometown.

Gustafsson, 26, was supposed to fight Antonio Rogerio Nogueira

on the England card, but

href="http://msn.foxsports.com/ufc/story/antonio-rogerio-nogueira-withdraws-from-march-bout-with-alexander-gustafsson-110113"

target="_blank">Nogueira pulled out with an injury just five

days after White announced it.

If Gustafsson beats Manuwa, he’s expected to get a rematch

with Jones. That is, if Jones can get by Glover Teixeira in either

March or April.

“His clean record is impressive but I am one fight away

from the title fight again and I will fight my heart out to get a

win in this fight and reach my goals,” Gustafsson told

Telegraph Sport. “Jimi is a great stand-up fighter which he

proved in his last fight in Manchester.

“We will put on a hell of a show, but I am not sure who

will have the hometown advantage since I expect an invasion of

Swedish fans to come and support me.”