KO specialist Jimi ‘Posterboy’ Manuwa (14-01-0) makes his much anticipated return to the Octagon when he faces Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua (22-09-0) in a five round contest at UFC Fight Night 56 on 8 November in Ginásio Municipal Tancredo Neves, Brazil.
Following his loss to Alexander Gustafsson he took a well earned pause in his regimen to allow himself to regroup his thoughts and battle plan before going back to the gym to turn his attention to Mauricio Rua. Manuwa, who considers Rua as something of an icon, patiently waited for Rua to recover from his fight with Dan Henderson. Rua, currently ranked number nine in the light heavyweight division was worth the wait. “In the top ten of the division it’s the only fight that makes senses at the moment. He’s ranked higher than me, he’s a notable opponent. Everyone else in the top ten are fighting each other. I don’t have any idols but I will say he was, at one time, one of my favourite fighters and I’ve always wanted him to win when he fought. I believe a win over him will put me one fight away from being back in title contention.”
When idols become your rivals is a well coined phrase and never a good thing in the fight game something that Pat Barry learned to his cost when he faced Mirco ‘Cro Cop’. Although the respect that Manuwa has for the former UFC light heavyweight champion and PRIDE veteran is evident, he is keen to assert that this is strictly business as he continues in saying, “I am a professional, I train to win and I have no problems in switching off my feelings and getting the job done. I recognise that he’s coming off a serious injury and the fact it’s his nose is going to be a problem for him, not me. I’m not spiteful enough to make that my main focus but I’m a striker and his nose is going to get hit.”
Rua was last seen competing in a one-sided fight against UFC veteran Dan Henderson, one-sided until Hendo landed one of his patented ‘H Bombs’ and turned the tide to get a massive come from behind TKO win. This is where Manuwa is keen to express that he is a much more versatile and multifaceted warrior than Henderson is and therefore will pose much more of a problem and threat to Rua, “I’ve got more than just a ‘H Bomb’, I’ve also got a much bigger arsenal than Henderson in fact. I’ve got various ‘H Bombs’ in my toolkit. Henderson’s right hand is a problem for sure. Me, I’ve got my left hook, my left kick, right kick, spinning back fist, my knees and my elbows. I’ve a much bigger arsenal than Henderson has and that’s going to be the difference.”
Manuwa has taken his first loss of his career as a way in which to grow, learn and expand as a fighter. It’s clear that he is over the loss and has taken much from it that it is helping his current preparation for what will propel him up the rankings should he be victorious, “I’ve watched my fight with Gustaffson recently I wasn’t letting my hands go and that’s a mistake I will not make again. When I let my hands go, we all know what happens.”
It’s clear the Londoner will use this as an opportunity to shake off the notion that he is a fighter rooted in UK based match-ups. With plans to spend his training camp globally with trips planned to Dubai, San Diego and an extended visit to Brazil, it is clear that he has no problems with this important fight taking place in Brazil, “Going into Shogun’s backyard will be an experience and it doesn’t phase me in the slightest, it’ll be one big adventure. The fight will be happening a few days past November the 5th [Guy Fawkes night], but Shogun better be prepared as I’m bringing fireworks.”