Manuwa stakes his claim for a title shot and says Jon Jones needs a tune-up fight.
Earlier this week, UFC president Dana White revealed that Jon Jones would be eligible for a light heavyweight championship rematch against Daniel Cormier if he returns by July 29 for UFC 214.
If ‘Bones’ isn’t ready by then, White says No. 3 ranked contender Jimi Manuwa will be granted the title shot.
“Cormier is available to fight on July 8, but that time frame doesn’t work for Jon Jones,” White told Brett Okamoto in a recent interview. “Cormier already told me he’s willing to fight either Jones or Manuwa.
“If Jon Jones is ready to fight [by UFC 214] on July 29, we’ll see the Jones versus Cormier rematch, finally.”
Manuwa, who knocked out the No. 6 ranked Corey Anderson at UFC Fight Night 107 in his backyard of London, England last month, obviously wants Jones to take a warm-up fight so he gets the blockbuster match against ‘DC’.
But, according to ‘Poster Boy’, he has other options lined up (a potential boxing showdown with David Haye?) if Jones jumps the queue.
“I didn’t want [Jones] to kind of jump in line,” Manuwa told ESPN’s Five Rounds podcast (h/t Jesse Holland of MMA Mania). “I’ve been working hard, knocking people out. I believe I deserve the title shot. He’s the greatest of all time, but he’s been off a year, two years. He needs a warm-up fight and he knows he needs a warm-up fight. It will bother me, but at the end of the day, it won’t determine what I’m going to do. I’ve got options.”
Jones, the former 205-pound champion and pound-for-pound number one, is currently serving a one-year suspension for a failed drug test and is eligible to return to the Octagon by July 6.
Manuwa, 37, has losses to Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson and Alexander Gustafsson but is currently riding a two-fight KO streak and is one of the top contenders in the light heavyweight division.