Middleweight striker Thiago Santos doesn’t feel too much pressure to take on heavy-hitter Jimi Manuwa at light heavyweight, not even on short notice.
After replacing an injured Glover Teixeira at UFC Sao Paulo, ‘Marreta’ tells Combate he even thrives when he has his back against the wall.
“I don’t care that he fights at a heavier weight class,” Santos said. “I accepted it on the spot. I was struggling with my weight cut anyway. I already fought several times this year and was cutting weight without too much time between my fights and this opportunity came up. I don’t choose opponents. I mean it. He’s a real top-5 guy and a knockout artist. I can’t underestimate Manuwa, he’s heavy-handed and he comes after your, I feel like it’ll be a great fight. Big challenges get me more excited. The harder it is or when people say I’ll lose, that’s when I’m the most motivated.”
Although Manuwa’s size could be intimidating even for light heavyweight standards, Santos guarantees to be unfazed by it, even though his opponent’s physique did scare some of his peers and even his own mother.
“I think it’s funny when guys talk about how intimidating he is,” He said. “Even my own mom said ‘Gee, son, he’s really big.’ My friends tell me he’s a giant, but all I say is the bigger they are, the harder they fall. I don’t care.”
Thiago Santos is expected to meet Jimi Manuwa in the headliner of UFC Fight Night 137, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on September 22.