Originally, British light heavyweight contender Jimi Manuwa was expected to battle Glover Teixeira in the main event of UFC Sao Paulo on September 22. Regrettably, Glover Teixeira was forced out of this fight with an injury, which left the UFC with the difficult task of finding a replacement opponent for Jimi Manuwa.
Eventually, after some deliberation, the promotion booked a fight between Manuwa and Brazilian middleweight Thiago Santos, who will move up division for the opportunity.
Initially, this wasn’t a fight that Jimi Manuwa was sold on, but, as he explained to MMA Fighting this week, he was ultimately persuaded.
“I didn’t see any incentive in taking the fight because it was coming from a middleweight,” Jimi Manuwa said. “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.”
“Sometimes you want to step up and … not do favors, but you’ve gotta tell me incentives to take the fight,” Manuwa continued. “They explained to me, I had a talk with my coaches and my team and we accepted the fight.
“Everyone else didn’t make sense… 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.”
Who do you think will win when Thiago Santos and Jimi Manuwa meet in the UFC Sao Paulo main event?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 9/2/2018.