Jimi Manuwa blasts light heavyweight contenders for ducking a fight with him
Jimi Manuwa is sick and tired of hearing how top-ranked fighters aren’t interested in facing him.
The No. 4 ranked contender at 205-pounds had been asking for several possible opponents before finally being booked for a matchup with Corey Anderson this weekend, but seemingly no one seemed all that enthusiastic once his name was attached to the contract.
Manuwa was on the hunt for a top-ranked opponent after he flattened former title contender Ovince Saint-Preux in his most recent performance this past October.
Manuwa says his ire was first raised after he was offered and accepted a fight with former title contender Glover Teixeira, but then suddenly he was matched up with Jared Cannonier at UFC 208 instead with no reason given why their bout had fallen apart.
“I was scheduled to fight Glover Teixeira in the beginning and somehow the fight didn’t happen. It was scheduled to be in Sacramento first and then they moved it to Denver and then I said I’ll fight him in Brooklyn in early February and somehow he ended up fighting this person who’s not even in the top 15 and then that was it, the fight was cancelled,” Manuwa explained. “I don’t know what happened there. It seemed like he didn’t want to fight because if he wanted to fight, he would have made it happen.
“I was pushing for that fight. That’s a great fight for the fans. The fans would want to see it. I was pushing for that fight but the fight didn’t happen. You’ve got to ask Teixeira what happened, how he ended up fighting someone not in the top 15.”
From there, Manuwa turned his attention to two more fighters ranked in the top 10 in an attempt to goad them into a bout, but he says neither accepted.
Needless to say, Manuwa was not happy.
“We asked [Ryan] Bader and Bader wasn’t too interested. He was talking about his contract and this, that and the other was what he was on. Who else am I going to fight? So we asked for “Shogun” [Rua]. “Shogun” came back immediately and said no,” Manuwa revealed. “So you know, I find it a bit frustrating that these great fighters don’t want to fight.
“I’m No. 5. What’s there to be scared of? I’m getting upset.”
In many ways, Manuwa not landing many of the opponents he sought to face has ultimately led to him losing some respect for the fighters he once held in very high regard.
As a competitor who has never turned down a fight when offered, Manuwa can’t understand why so many top-ranked mixed martial artists just aren’t willing to face him.
“Listen, it definitely makes me lose respect because I thought everyone was the same as me. I’ve never turned down a fight in my life. Ever,” Manuwa explained. “When I fought [Alexander] Gustafsson, he was the No. 1 contender, just came off the loss from Jon Jones. They offered me Gustafsson and I jumped at the chance. When I was No. 10 or something like that, they offered me [Anthony] “Rumble” Johnson, I jumped at the chance.
“But dodging fights, you’ve got to fight the best to be the best and that’s what kind of surprised me about these guys. They’re trying to play games to hold onto their position. They’re trying to play games. I’ve never turned down a fight in my life.”
As disappointed as Manuwa was to hear other fighters were declining to fight him, he was very excited to discover that Corey Anderson was willing to step into the lion’s den this weekend in London to accept his challenge.
Anderson is a former “Ultimate Fighter” winner who has put together a 6-2 record overall in the UFC while climbing into the top 10 at 205 pounds. Manuwa appreciates Anderson taking a fight so many others seemingly preferred to avoid, but he also plans on showing the 27-year old fighter why “The Poster Boy” might just be one of the toughest matchups in the entire division right now.
“I’ve got big respect for Corey Anderson,” Manuwa said. “He’s a great fighter, he poses a big threat. He’s got great wrestling, he’s got great ground and pound, good boxing, he’s good all around. He won “The Ultimate Fighter” so I’ve got a big task at my hands.
“Believe me, I’m working very hard and I plan on ending his night very early.”