Five Things You Might Not Know About Jimi Manuwa

By Guy Portman Oct 21, 2018

Jimi Manuwa has been a staple of the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s light heavyweight roster since 2012.

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 Thiago 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 countries.

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.


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