Jimi Manuwa takes shot at Jon Jones after knockout victory at UFC Fight Night

It took Jimi Manuwa just one punch on Saturday to knock out Corey Anderson and announce himself as a true threat to the UFC light heavyweight title. It took him just a few more sentences later to start a beef with the division’s biggest name: Jon Jones.

All in all, it was a statement performance for Manuwa (17-2), whose left hook knocked Anderson down and out in the main event of UFC Fight Night in London. 

Manuwa, 37, has taken a long road to get to this point. The native of Sacramento was raised in Nigeria and now fights out of England. His only two defeats since his 2012 UFC debut have come against top contenders Alexander Gustafsson and Anthony Johnson, both by knockout.

But with the division a bit wide open at the moment, Manuwa believes he’s on the door step to a title shot against the winner of champion Daniel Cormier’s April 8 rematch against Johnson at UFC 210. 

“I’m a knockout artist,” Manuwa said at the post-fight news conference. “I’m a spectacular fighter. I hope I get my title shot and you will see me get the belt.”

Manuwa, who has recorded a knockout or TKO in 12 of his last 13 victories, then called out Jones but not for a future fight. Instead, Manuwa, currently the No. 4 ranked fighter at 205 pounds by the UFC, went the opposite way.

“I’m not interested in Jon Jones,” Manuwa said. “Jon Jones takes steroids and now he has been banned for steroids. Before I was a big fan of Jon Jones, the things he has done in the Octagon and everything. But he has been suspended for a year or something.”

Jones (22-1), 29, is already regarded by man as the greatest fighter in UFC history. But the former light heavyweight champion, who made eight title defenses between 2011 and 2015, has only fought once in the past two years while dealing with substance-abuse issues. 

Jones was stripped of the belt in 2015 after he was arrested in a hit-and-run incident where drugs were found in his car. Then, Jones was pulled from the UFC 200 main event just days before last July after testing positive for two banned substances (fertility drugs clomiphene and letrozole). 

Jones was given a 1-year suspension (retroactive to July 6) by the United States Anti-Doping Agency after it was concluded he did not take the substances intentionally.

“He has had issues before,” Manuwa said. “He’s a great fighter and I have great respect for him but he has been dumped for steroids and that taints everything he has done. When he comes back, I’ll fight him. No problem. But I’m focused on the belt right now.”

Manuwa claims he has had difficulty getting fights against the division’s best and stated that Glover Teixeira, Ryan Bader and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua all turned him down.  

“It makes me think twice that everyone is not like me,” Manuwa said. “Everyone wants to dodge people and hold onto their spot. I’m not bothered about where I’m ranked in the world. I’m just worried about fighting the best people in the world and being a natural, original champion. That’s what I’m working towards.”

In addition to sharing his hopes of getting a title fight, Manuwa also stated he is willing to face off in a boxing match against England’s David Haye, a former cruiserweight and heavyweight titlist. Manuwa hopes the fight can serve as a co-main event to the rumored Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor pay-per-view bout.

CBS Sports Insider

Brian Campbell covers MMA, boxing and WWE. The Connecticut native joined CBS Sports in 2017 and has covered combat sports since 2010. He has written and hosted various podcasts and digital shows for ESPN... Full Bio

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