He has built a reputation as a fearsome slugger off the back of 5
KOs/TKOs with the promotion. As we wait for his return against
Santos at UFC 231,
here are five things that you might not know about the knockout
artist they call “Poster Boy.”
1. He spent his formative years in three different
Manuwa was born in Sacramento, California, to British parents of
Nigerian origin. At the age of 3, he moved to Nigeria with his
family. He was 10 when he emigrated to London, England. The
transition was a difficult one for the young Manuwa, who initially
found it difficult to settle in his adopted country. To this day,
the now 38 year-old calls London home.
2. He came late to combat sports.
Manuwa has stated in interviews that as a youngster he used to get
in a lot of fights at school and elsewhere. However, he did not
start formal combat training until 2007, at the ripe old age of 27.
After only a couple of weeks of training he took his first match, a
TKO win over Tom King at
Full Contact Fight Night 8 in July 2008. He would go on to win his
first 14 contests, all by stoppage.
3. He used to be a weight lifter.
Manuwa used to be an avid weightlifter, who spent much of his time
in the gym. But, a pectoral injury in 2007 forced him to take a
break from pumping iron. It was during his convalescence that he
decided to try his hand at MMA. He never looked back.
4. He spends a lot of time in Sweden.
Manuwa might be a self-proclaimed Londoner, but these days he is
often to be found in the Swedish capital Stockholm. This is because
he is a team member of the city’s renowned Allstars Training
Center, where he trains alongside some of Europe’s elite MMA
competitors, including UFC light heavyweights Alexander
Gustafsson and Ilir Latifi.
It was after the first loss of his career, to the aforementioned
Gustafsson at UFC Fight Night 37 in 2014 that Manuwa started
training in Sweden. Although he spends much of his time in
Stockholm, he makes frequent trips back to the UK to visit his
wife, four children and dog.
5. He initially rejected the advances of the UFC.
When the UFC initially tried to sign Manuwa, he turned down their
offer because he felt that he was not yet ready for the pinnacle of
mixed martial arts. Two years later, in 2011, Manuwa again rejected
the UFC’s advances, when they offered him a spot on the UFC 138
card in Birmingham, England, in November of that year. The reason
he gave was that he was not given enough time to prepare for the
bout. In July 2012, the 11-0 Manuwa finally put pen to paper and
joined the ranks of the elite in the UFC. Manuwa’s patience proved
to be a wise decision. The heavy-handed pugilist would win his
first 3-fights with the promotion, all via TKO.