In a division starving for contenders, Jimi Manuwa could be the next man up at light heavyweight.
Moments after knocking out Corey Anderson with a left hook in the first round of their main event bout at UFC Fight Night 107 in London on Saturday, Manuwa set his sights on even bigger game.
“Lions eat first, baby. Left hook’s always the shot. One shot, one kill,” Manuwa said. “Listen, I want the winner of DC and ‘Rumble.’ It’s time for a title shot now.
Then, following in the footsteps of Conor McGregor, Manuwa also mentioned interest in a boxing match with British heavyweight David Haye. However, Manuwa reiterated that a UFC title shot was his main priority.
“That’s what I go to work for; that’s what I go to training for,” Manuwa said. “When I first started mixed martial arts, all I wanted was the title. And that’s what we’re working for. I believe that’s gonna be my next fight.”
Cormier and Johnson will meet in the UFC 210 headliner at the Keybank Center in Buffalo on April 8. Manuwa has never faced Cormier but already lost to “Rumble” via second-round KO at UFC 191 in September 2015. Manuwa’s only other defeat came to another No. 1 contender, Alexander Gustafsson.
Still, “Poster Boy” has been victorious in six of eight bouts in the Octagon and his last two appearances have been the most impressive — knockouts of Anderson and Ovince St. Preux. The 37-year-old Englishman is ranked No. 4 at light heavyweight on UFC.com, behind only Cormier, Johnson, Gustafsson and Glover Teixeira. However, Jon Jones USADA-mandated suspension will end in July, and the long-time former 205-pound champion could very well slide into an immediate title shot upon his return.
For now, Manuwa will bask in the glory of a an emphatic victory in his hometown while he waits to see what lies ahead.
“That was one of the great moments for me, getting a knockout in front of my home crowd in London. This is going to be one of the highlights of my career,” Manuwa said. “The crowd was amazing tonight. I soaked it all in as I walked out and when I got into the Octagon. The fans were just so supportive. That’s the best crowd I’ve ever fought in front of. British fighters are working really hard at the moment and there’s been a lot of great British talent on the card tonight. It just shows that we are a force to be reckoned with.
“I think it’s only right that we have another British champion.”