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Jimi Manuwa: ‘I wanted a good name’ but UFC ‘persuaded’ me to take Thiago Santos fight

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Number-five ranked UFC light heavyweight contender Jimi Manuwa was originally slated to headline the company’s upcoming Fight Night event in Sao Paulo against Glover Teixeira. But in mid-August, the former title contender was forced out of the fight due to a shoulder injury, leaving Manuwa without an opponent.

The UFC decided to tap middleweight fighter Thiago Santos to step in as replacement, which Manuwa initially said no to, according to Santos himself. From his end, Manuwa said he wanted a better matchup, until he was eventually goaded into agreeing to the fight.

“I didn’t see any incentive in taking the fight because it was coming from a middleweight,” Manuwa said (via MMA Fighting). “I wanted a good name, so I wasn’t really interested in fighting, but then the UFC persuaded me to take the fight. I had a little think about it, and Thiago Santos is a good fighter, so I accepted the fight.”

Many consider the current light heavyweight division as a “wasteland,” lacking the depth that it once had during the late 2000’s up to the early 2010’s. This is the same problem that Manuwa sees, but he promises to deliver on fight night, nonetheless.

“Everyone else didn’t make sense,” he said. “Everyone that was worth fighting already was matched up. It was very hard in the light heavyweight division because people were fighting or injured or unranked.”

“The UFC knows they have to put a good event, a good opponent for me when I’m fighting because they know I’ll always put on a good show, I always come for the knockout. We’re going to put on a great main event for Sao Paulo. I look forward to coming there.”

UFC Sao Paulo is scheduled to take place on September 22nd.

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