British light heavyweight Jimi Manuwa was hoping he’d be paired with Brazilian contender Glover Teixeira for the UFC’s March 18 return to London, England. Unfortunately for him, this option didn’t seem to interest Teixeira, which left him with no choice but to accept a London rematch with Jan Blachowicz, who defeated by decision several years ago.
Speaking to Peter Carroll of MMAFighting.com, Manuwa shared his thoughts on Teixeira. Needless to say, he’s not particularly pleased that the Brazilian talent didn’t accept his offer.
“It’s true what he’s saying: I did lose my last fight. But, at the end of the day he’s got to understand that if Alex [Gustafsson] is ready, he’s not going to be getting a title shot. He won’t be fighting anybody. I offered him the fight,” Manuwa said. “After [Daniel Cormier] fights Volkan [Oezdemir], the winner is going to be fighting Alex Gustafsson. Alex just knocked out Glover Teixeira in his last fight so he’s next in line.”
“The right choice for Glover to cement his place is a fight with me,” he continued. “He’s No. 3 and I’m No. 4. It’s the right fight to make. Surely he can see that. I really don’t know where his head is at. The only thing that makes sense is that he doesn’t want to fight me or he doesn’t want to risk the loss. This is the second time he has turned me down for a fight so I really can’t put my finger on it, but he’s either scared or he’s playing it safe.”
“That excuse that I’m coming off a loss holds no weight. He’s not even next in line for the title shot. He’s cherry picking fights. The last time I offered to fight him at UFC 208, he turned it down and ended up fighting Jared Cannonier. It is what it is. I’ve got to keep fighting and I continue to aim for the belt.”
Jimi Manuwa then explained that he’s heard the fan criticism of the UFC London lineup, and he thinks the onus should land on Teixeira.
“The criticism should be aimed at [Teixeira],” he said. “At the end of the day, the UFC or me can’t make him fight. If you offer someone a fight and they say no there is no clause in the contract that makes them sign to fight.
“It’s all down to Teixeira. I wanted to fight anybody that I could in the top five or top ten. I asked UFC for Teixeira, I asked for Shogun – I wanted a big name. I asked for Lil Nog. These are the fights that should be happening, but they aren’t.
“There’s no warrior code in this game. Teixeira is a great fighter. He shouldn’t be turning down a fight with me. If we fight, he would be the favorite. He’s good standing up and he’s great on the floor. I don’t know why he keeps turning down fights with me.”
What do you think of these criticisms from Jimi Manuwa?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 1/10/2018.