Interview with UCMMA Light-Heavyweight champion Jimi Manuwa

UCMMA Light-Heavyweight Champion Jimi "Poster Boy" Manuwa

Hey Jimi, we’d like to congratulate you on your win against Valentino Petrescu at UCMMA: Invincible. What was the training camp like for the fight?

The training camp wasn’t anything different. I always come to fights fully prepared. You can’t go in there not having trained and expect to win. I had a few minor adjustments to what I normally do as I know he (Petrescu) was pretty good with his ground game. I knew his stand up would probably be a bit better than mine.

I took him very seriously even though everyone said I was going to do him. He wasn’t unbeaten for no reason, so I took him seriously and did what I had to do.

For those that don’t follow British MMA, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got into the world of Mixed Martial Arts and how you got into the UCMMA organisation?

I didn’t really fully get into martial arts until I started watching UFC. I was a bit late into the game. I started watching Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz when they were reigning supreme in the UFC. I was more into boxing, but when I started watching UFC I said to myself “wow”.

One of my best friends was actually fighting in Cage Rage: Contenders at the time and I saw him fighting. After that, I started training with him, had a few fights and I’ve been going through whoever UCMMA throw at me. I became the Light-Heavyweight champion and the rest is history.

You’ve been gone an incredible two years without losing. What have you learnt so far in those two years?

The other day I was studying all my fights and I’ve realised that I’ve come a long way in such a short space of time. I’ve got a great team of trainers and they’re the reason I’m the way I am right now. I learn from myself and I study all the styles I’ve used. Everyone says that every time they see me they say that I’ve gotten better.

 I pretty much train everything. Jiu Jitsu, Judo, Wrestling, everything. Recently, I’ve started training Muay Thai boxing with a world class trainer. He’s taught me so much with clinching and all the aspects of Muay Thai. I love it all and that’s why I enjoy fighting so much.

 Much like Frankie Edgar you don’t cut much weight before your fight. How does that help you during the fight?

 I think it does help me. A lot of people say that I’m too small for the UFC, but I feel strong. My metabolism is amazing and when I train I sweat so much. My metabolism is fantastic from all the weights I do. At the weigh-ins I don’t feel drained. They say it’s not good to go over 5% of your normal weight so I’m good.

You knocked out the majority of your opponents and you’re arguably the most feared striker fighting in the UK promotions at the moment. Do you always look for the knockout or are you more than comfortable to go to the ground with a fighter who is more proficient there?

I train with Jiu Jitsu experts and I’m always working off of my back. Being on your back is one of the worst positions, so I’m always learning how to escape or pull submissions. I’m always trying to finish the fight. He’s trying to finish the fight the same as me, so I’m going try and finish him first.

I’v

Manuwa and UK Grime artist Giggs

e noticed that you’re linked with UK rapper Giggs. How did that all come about?

Giggs is out of South London and he’s a local rapper and he’s the best in the UK at the moment. A lot of the things that he says are true and I relate to it. We’re all from South London and I respect those who’ve come from South London and made something of themselves.

What area of your game would you like to improve on?

Right now I’d like to work on my wrestling, with the takedowns and takedown defence. I’m always working on my striking and Jiu Jitsu and Judo. However, when my wrestling gets as good as the rest then I’m going to be hard to stop.

Wrestling and the Sambo and the takedown defence is the key. Andre Winner came out without a scratch but he lost the fight. It’s a shame.

You’re at the prime of your MMA career? Would you like a chance to fight back in the states in one of the big promotions or are you comfortable fighting just in the UK?

I’m not happy until I’m ranked number 1 in the world. I want to be the Poster Boy of MMA in the world. This is just the beginning. I haven’t been in the game for ages and there’s still a lot to do. I knew that I’d get to where I am right now and I know I’ll get to the top. It’s just a matter of time.

I noticed that a lot of fighters don’t train hard and take this as seriously as me. That’s why I train hard and I’m dedicated to the sport. I’m not going to let anyone beat me up in the cage. I can’t let that happen.

If you had to pick a current fighter in the world that you’d like to fight, who would it be?

Shogun would be interesting as he’s the number one guy at the moment. I don’t think I’m ready for him yet, but give it a couple of years and I will be. To be honest, I’m not really bothered who I fight as once I get in the cage, I know I’m going to win.

I’d like a fight with Rampage Jackson. We’re both stand up warriors and he’s a top class wrestler. That’d be a great fight. I don’t think I’d be out of my league though. I’m confident in my hands and my kicks and I’m sure I’m as strong as him.

 When do see your next fight taking place and who would you like to defend your title against?

I’m always in shape, it doesn’t take me long to get into shape as I’m always training. I’m always up for a fight but I’ve had long this year. I was meant to fight in December, but the opponent pulled out.  I’ve heard a couple of names put out there. Jake Bostwick was put out there, but I’m not sure if I’d want that fight. We used to train together and stuff. I don’t know if I’d want the fight, but I’d beat him if I have to.

There’s some other guy who fought Valentino Petrescu who has called me out, but I’m not really excited about that fight. It’s something that could happen though.

Thanks for your time Jimi, no doubt we’ll be stopping by again to ask you a few more questions. Is there anyone you’d like to thank?

I’d like to thank Zara at Halo PR, Wad Alameddine and all my coaches and all the clubs and gyms thst I go to. I’d also like to thank God, my family and all my fans for their support and kind words on twitter.

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3 Comments

  1. That was a really good interview.
    The questions asked were top notch and I got a really good insight into this guy who I don’t know much about, it made me read the whole article.
    Raymond

    • Within the next 1 – 2 years I reckon he’ll be in one of the top US promotion. As long as he continues to keep training hard and learning new things then he’ll be fighting the top echelon of fighters

  2. Great interview guys. Would like to see Jimmy against a high class of apponent asap!


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