Jimi Manuwa is a man with a lot of options heading into UFC 214
At the top of his list, the 37-year old British slugger would like to receive a UFC title shot if he can get past rising contender Volkan Oezdemir this weekend in Anaheim.
Manuwa has looked better than ever lately with his last two wins in a row and he truly believes this is the time when he can finally make a run at winning UFC gold — and he even teased the possibility of pursuing a title in a different weight division, as well.
“This is my time. After the few changes I made after the second loss of my career, that’s it — I’m unstoppable,” Manuwa told the Fight Society podcast this week. “No one’s stopping me now. Not any of the champions.
“I feel like I can even drop down to middleweight and take the belt there. I feel like I can go up to heavyweight and take the belt there. I feel proper unstoppable right now.”
Manuwa mentioned both middleweight and heavyweight as possible destinations, but upon further examination, he actually backtracked the idea of moving up a division after an encounter with another fighter recently.
At a ripped 6-foot-2-inches tall, Manuwa is not a small light heavyweight fighter, but when he ran into French wrecking machine Francis Ngannou recently, it made him pause on the idea of moving up to heavyweight.
“I could drop down to middleweight and take the belt there. Heavyweight, I’m not sure,” Manuwa explained.
“I tell you what. I was thinking about heavyweight before until I saw Francis Ngannou face to face when he was a guest fighter at UFC in London. I was like (expletive) me, this guy’s a (expletive) monster. He was (expletive) massive; it’s crazy. So maybe it will be middleweight.”
Of course, Manuwa would prefer not moving divisions at all, but he also can’t guarantee that his next fight will be for the light heavyweight title, even if he shuts down Oezdemir on Saturday night.
On the flipside, if Jones defeats Cormier for a second time, the UFC might shift gears and try to put Alexander Gustafsson into another title opportunity. Gustafsson is coming off of a lopsided win over Glover Teixeira and he’s the fighter who nearly defeated Jones when they first met in 2013.
Add to that, Manuwa and Gustafsson are now teammates and both have recently declared that there’s no amount of money or gold that would make them fight each other again following first meeting in 2014.
Still, Manuwa isn’t giving up hope that a title shot could be awaiting him after Saturday night is finished. That’s why he plans on making a strong statement by knocking Oezdemir unconscious to mark his sixth knockout or TKO since joining the UFC roster.
“I’m going to run through this guy and give him my full force and everything just to let him know we’re not playing,” Manuwa said about Oezdemir. “He’s going to feel the full force of what we have to give. I’m training hard for this camp. He’s going to feel the full force of Jimi Manuwa on July 29. Everyone’s going to have to be there to see it including Jon Jones and including Daniel Cormier.
“I’ve got full confidence the belt is coming my way. I’m not sweating anything.”
And if a title fight in the UFC isn’t awaiting him after he’s done with Oezdemir, Manuwa still has one more ace up his sleeve.
“I’ve got big fights lined up. I’ve got the David Haye fight on the backburner, waiting for him to heal up and get better. So I’ve got big things coming,” Manuwa teased.
“Put on the fight with David Haye and watch him get knocked out. David Haye, he’s ready for a boxing, looking good [fight], that type of thing. He’s not ready for a dog fight what I’m going to give him.”