UFC light heavyweight contender Jimi Manuwa wants nothing to do with former champ Jon Jones, who’s currently serving a one-year USADA suspension.
Jimi Manuwa launched himself into the UFC light heavyweight title picture with a walk-off knockout win of Corey Anderson in the first round of the UFC Fight Night 107 main event at The O2 Arena in London, England on Saturday.
In his post-fight interview, Manuwa, eager for a crack at the belt, unsurprisingly called out the winner of champion Daniel Cormier vs. Anthony Johnson, a title rematch that will occur at UFC 210 in April. But another option for Manuwa, who’s currently ranked No. 4 in the official 205-pound standings, may just be former champ Jon Jones, who’s currently serving a one-year suspension that will end in July.
But Manuwa wants nothing to do with Jones, becauses the ex-titleholder failed a drug test last year. Jones, just days before a highly-anticipated title rematch with “DC” was supposed to happen at UFC 200 in July, tested positive for a pair of banned substances, anti-estrogen agents clomiphene and Letrozol, and was subsequently pulled from the card. Jones never admitted to knowingly using the banned substances and claimed that they stemmed from a contaminated sexual-performance pill. Though USADA deemed that to be likely true in a lengthy arbitration case, the anti-doping agency still gave “Bones” a one-year sanction.
“I’m not interested in Jon Jones. Jon Jones takes steroids and now he’s been banned for steroids,” Manuwa said at the post-fight press conference (transcript via MMAFighting.com). “Before, I was a big fan of Jon Jones, the things he’s done in the Octagon and everything, but he’s been suspended for a year or something and he’s had issues before. He’s a great fighter. I greatly respect him, but he’s been banned for steroids and that taints everything that he’s done. So I’m not really interested.”
Before Jones’ multiple run-ins with the law and his USADA suspension, Jones was en route to becoming one of the greatest fighters to ever walk the planet and was already widely considered the mixed martial arts pound-for-pound king. Therefore, it seems possible that Jones could immediately get a crack at the winner of Cormier vs. Johnson II upon his summer return, so Manuwa suggested that he’d be open to fight for the belt even before that to be safe and guarantee his deserved title shot.
“[Jones is] back in July or something. [Cormier and Johnson] are fighting next month, so the fight could be made before he comes back anyway, so we’ll see what happens,” Manuwa said. “I’m going to fly to Vegas to meet with (UFC president) Dana (White) after this and we’ll see what happens.”
All of that said, Manuwa would never decline a fight with Jones. If Manuwa vs. Jones was the fight the UFC wanted to make, “Poster Boy” would ultimately agree to that fight.
“Listen, I don’t turn down anybody,” Manuwa said. “I’m not scared of anybody. Everyone bleeds. Everyone feels pain. And I’ve proven through my career that I’m not scared to fight anybody, because it’s mixed martial arts. Everyone feels pain, everyone bleeds the same, except if you’re out taking steroids. That’s what I’ve got a problem with. So it is what it is. I’ll fight Jon Jones, no problem.”