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Old 10-21-2011, 10:57 AM   #1 (permalink)
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After declining UFC contract, Jimi Manuwa set to defend UCMMA belt

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Rising British light-heavyweight prospect Jimi Manuwa had the UFC deal he worked hard so to get – and still decided to pull the plug.

The 28-year-old knockout artist is in no hurry. When he gets to the big show, he wants to hit the ground running. In the meantime, he's logging cage time.

Manuwa (9-0) looks to defend his Ultimate Challenge MMA light-heavyweight belt against Nick Chapman (2-0) at "UCMMA 24: Hands of War" on Saturday. The overseas event takes places at The Troxy in London.

"I've run over all the competition I've had over here (in Europe), and I just wanted to get a bit more international experience," Manuwa told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio). "I would have probably taken this fight then the UFC (138) fight would have been two weeks after. It would have been kind of too close."

It's been more than a year since Manuwa most recently fought. He defeated Valentino Petrescu by first round knockout in August 2010. He now has finished all nine of his opponents, eight by knockout.

"I've not been out of the gym, but I've been out of the cage," Manuwa said. "Last year after the (Petrescu) fight, I carried on training, and I got a major injury. I thought I would fight again, and then I thought better. Then I lined up a couple of fights, and then the opponents pulled out. Then I got injured again."

Although Manuwa's career spans three years, only two have really been healthy ones. Couple that with the fact that he took his first professional MMA fight in 2008 with no amateur experience (and after only three weeks of training), and what you have is still a relatively inexperienced fighter.

Manuwa knows it, and he's decided to take the proper steps in order to arrive in the UFC a finished product.

It's a refreshing outlook for a young fighter. Many prospects have come into the UFC at a young age and fallen by the wayside relatively quickly, never to be seen or heard from again.

Patience is even more of a virtue in a fast-paced, ever-evolving sport such as MMA. Manuwa appears to have it mapped out pretty well so far.

"Three or four hard fights (more), and then I'll probably go there (to the UFC)," he said.

Manuwa plans on fighting for another promotion following this weekend's Chapman fight. His next training camp will also include spending time at Alliance MMA in California, in addition to his normal work in his home country at Keddles Gym, Nova Forca BJJ and Lion's Pride MMA (a gym he recently opened in South London).

The opportunity to upgrade his level of training partners to include the likes of UFC light heavyweights Phil Davis, Brandon Vera and Alexander Gustafsson should only continue to further his development.

"My overall goal is to be UFC champion," Manuwa said. "I want to destroy all the international opponents: good, well-known opponents like 'Sokoudjou,' Houston Alexander, ex-UFC (guys). I want to destroy all of them and then go to the UFC after that. I want to destroy all of the contenders there and go for the belt. That's all I know how to do, destroy people."
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Old 10-21-2011, 11:50 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I've got to say I disagree with the interveiwer. Jimi was right to turn it down this time with the timings being wrong but I read somewhere he has turned down three deals this being the third, he may be inexperienced but he is also entering his prime. I havn't seen him live as I don't have sky but I have seen about four of his fights on youtube, enough to make me belive he could be a B-Level fighter in the UFC if he gets in soon, I don't want him to leave it too late.
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Old 10-22-2011, 01:39 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I doubt the sense in turning down three offers from the UFC, i'm all for timing but at his age he may not get another offer fighting in the domestic scene.
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Old 10-22-2011, 10:52 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Its really hard to say whether or not this was a good call. There are definetely some guys who could have benefitted from some more time outside of the UFC (Pat Barry, Cody McKenzie, Charles Olivera all come to mind). If he can put a few more together without a loss and then take a deal, it will look like a great move. If he losses and misses out on his shot, he will look like an idiot.
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Old 10-23-2011, 06:06 AM   #5 (permalink)
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He won again last night 10-0 now.
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Old 10-23-2011, 07:07 AM   #6 (permalink)
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He won again last night 10-0 now.
Against a 2-0 fighter.

To be honest i want to buy into the hype but he needs to fight somebody notable next.
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Old 10-23-2011, 07:39 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I see where he is coming from. Going for UCMMA to the UFC is like going from Sunday league to the premier league but i don't understand why he isn't getting fights elsewhere then.

A fighter who is 10-0 after last night and is a champ in an organisation as well known as UCMMA should be able to get his name on a BAMMA card at the very least if not a shark fights or MFC card.

His manager definitely needs to step his game up.
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Old 10-23-2011, 08:06 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I see where he is coming from. Going for UCMMA to the UFC is like going from Sunday league to the premier league but i don't understand why he isn't getting fights elsewhere then.

A fighter who is 10-0 after last night and is a champ in an organisation as well known as UCMMA should be able to get his name on a BAMMA card at the very least if not a shark fights or MFC card.

His manager definitely needs to step his game up.
Bamma seems to be making an attempt at growing, maybe they are trying to lock guys into multi fight deals. That could be a point of contention for fighters that are eventually trying to go to the UFC. Just a guess.
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Old 10-23-2011, 08:35 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I don't blame any 205'ers for not wanting to sign with the UFC. You get a crappy contract, fight on the prelims, and only get one or two fights a year.
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Old 10-23-2011, 08:36 AM   #10 (permalink)
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he needs to fight some good american wrestlers and elite strikers and beat them before going to the ufc, so with that said he needs to sign a contract with bellator and go 3-0 or 4-0 there and then sign with the ufc.
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