Jimi Manuwa hasn’t been active since Alexander Gustafsson ended his 14-fight undefeated streak in March. He meant to be, but his foot wouldn’t cooperate, forcing him to pull out of a fight with Mauricio Rua on November 8th. In this interview with Michael Morgan of #WHOATV, Jimi explains why he doesn’t regret delaying his return to the UFC and allowing Ovince St. Preux to destroy Shogun in his stead.
“I feel like I made the right decision in the end, because before I went to Sweden for my training camp, I hurt my foot sparing. I went to Sweden and I was kind of limping, nursing an old injury that I had from kicking and sparring and that caused stress on another part of my foot.”
He knows that now, but the source of that pain started as a proper Swedish mystery. Initial x-rays were inconclusive. But when the UFC funded an MRI scan in London, “it revealed a quite bad stress fracture.” In the past, Jimi fought with a broken rib, and with stitches in a foot. This time, he decided to follow his doctor’s advice, and he withdrew.
When Manuwa does return, there are only three people in his light heavyweight class he would like to avoid: current or former training partners Rampage, Alexander Gustafsson and Phil Davis.
“It’s a respect thing for me,” he says. “I wouldn’t like to fight someone who I’ve shed blood with and shed sweat with and helped and they’ve helped me and everything. I think it’s a respect thing. There’s lots more people I could fight.”
Of course, Jimi has already fought Gustafsson. But he can’t take that back now. No retroactive disrespect intended.