Yesterday, we learned that British knockout artist Jimi Manuwa will take on fellow top-5 light heavyweight Volkan Oezdemir at UFC 214 this July 29 in Anaheim, California.
While Manuwa is one of the most established names in the UFC light heavyweight division, Oezdemir remains a relative unknown among many fans, having burst into the top-5 after just two fights in the UFC.
Despite Oezdemir’s lack of name value, Manuwa is not taking this challenge lightly. The British star will be training with a veritable murderer’s row ahead of this UFC 214 bout.
One of his main training partners, as always, will be Alexander Gustafsson – despite the fact that the Swede is a new father, and a groom-to-be. Apparently, however, Manuwa will also have a few more monsters in the room with him, including UFC light heavyweight Ilir Latifi, kickboxer Andrei Stoica, and last but not least, new UFC signee and kickboxing legend Gokhan Saki.
Manuwa ran through his star-studded list of training partners on the latest episode of BJ Penn Radio.
“I believe [Gustafsson] is going to help me,” he said. “But I’ve got Ilir Latifi for my wrestling. I’ve got Andre Stoica coming over. There’s talk of Saki coming over. So I’ve got more than enough training partners to help me. I’ve got training partners over here in London. So, Volkan’s gonna get stopped in his tracks.”
Manuwa then elaborated on his relationship with Saki, and the possibility of their training together.
“It’s a beautiful thing,” he said. “We used to talk, a couple of years ago when I used to see him fight. We used to message each other like ‘we have to train one day, we have to train one day.’ But we’ve got a connection in Dubai, and he’s over there now. So there’s always been talk of us training together.”
Needless to say, Jimi Manuwa will be well-prepared when he steps into the cage with Volkan Oezdemir this July.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 6/1/2017.