The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Light Heavyweight division is alive and well now that former 205-pound kingpin Jon Jones is nearing his return, current champion Daniel Cormier is still on a roll and rising contenders like Volkan Oezdemir are coming out of nowhere.
And while “Bones” attempts to reclaim the title he never lost inside the Octagon against “DC” at UFC 214 on July 29, 2017, in Anaheim, Calif., Volkan will look to further climb the division rankings when he faces Jimi Manuwa in the co-main event of the evening.
For Manuwa, while he was trying his best to sneak into a title fight against “DC” over Jones, he’s okay with facing Oezdemir as it will be just be another notch on the belt before going for the 205-pound title he was promised with a win.
“I’m okay. Obliviously Jon Jones got the fight, one of the best fighters of all time like I’ve said before. I believe I will knock Volkan out and then Dana said I’d get a title shot after that,” he said on a recent appearance on “The MMA Hour.” “If one more person has to get it, then so be it.”
Still, Dana White has been known to bail on certain championship promises, so Alexander Gustafsson could very well jump the line over his friend Manuwa after his spectacular knockout win over Glover Teixeira at UFC Fight Night 109 a few weeks ago (see it).
Should that be the case, “Poster Boy” won’t be bothered one bit.
“Not really, we both don’t really care who gets the title shot first,” he said. “Alex is the best in the world and I would be happy for him to get and I would be happy to get it myself. We don’t let that come in between us.
“We train together and help each other out, we’re good friends and sparring partners,” he added. “We make each other better. I don’t really care who gets it. Obviously, I want it, and if he gets it, whatever happens, happens.”
Still, Manuwa hasn’t lost focus on the task at hand, but promises to show Oezdemir what it’s like to face the cream of the crop. That said, should anything happen to either Jones or Cormier in the lead up to the fight, Manuwa has already been told he will step in to fill the void.
“Yes, if Jon or ‘DC’ pulls out, I am going to jump into the main event and save the card. It doesn’t matter who, ‘DC,’ Jones or Volkan, I’m prepared to fight stand up, wrestling, grappling judo, everything. It doesn’t matter who I’m fighting. Doing my runs, cardio, striking, wrestling, everything to win the fight.”
Just another day in the life of a well-rounded fighter.
As for his much-desired boxing match against David Haye, Manuwa says that’s still in the works, claiming he expects it to go down at the end of the year or early 2018.
“Ideally, I will beat Volkan, fight ‘DC’ or Jones, win the title and then fight David Haye and knock him out, as well.”
Talk about bold ambitions.