It might only be his first fight for BAMMA, but Jimi ‘The Poster Boy’ Manuwa has been one of the most watched fighters on the UK scene for some time. Following more than a year’s break due to injury, the Light Heavyweight’s long-awaited return sees him going into BAMMA 8 still unbeaten, and straight off the back of a two minute win over Nick ‘The Headhunter’ Chapman. With ‘Lion’s Eat First’ as his slogan, Manuwa is aptly renowned for decisive and quick finishes: Watching his rapid-fire strikes suddenly explode out of his uber- relaxed stance is like watching a cheetah notch up speed. With a multi-fight BAMMA contract newly signed, expect fireworks when ‘The Poster Boy’ takes on Anthony Rea on Saturday. Manuwa talks to Graham Finney.
So Jimi, how is training going?
“It’s going good thanks. I’m in my final preparations now and I’ve started to peak. I’ll start to ease off my sparring now and step up my cardio as I know my opponent is an experienced fighter.”
Your last fight was barely eight weeks ago, did you head straight into preparations for this one?
“Yeah, I had a few days break then I got confirmation through just after the fight with Nick Chapman so I basically carried on the training camp to get me ready for this fight.”
You made a fairly good demolition of Nick in your last fight. What do you remember of it?
“I remember all of it. It lasted about 2 minutes 14 seconds and he tried to bring me down but I turned him into the cage and destroyed him in the clinch. It all pretty much went to plan.”
Do you go into each fight with a game plan?
“No, I don’t really do game plans. I leave that up to my trainers to look at the other fighters and work out what we should be concentrating on. The thing I always say is that it’s MMA so it could go anywhere. The other guy could stand up or go to the ground. I’ll go anywhere the fight goes as I’m strong in all areas.”
What do you know about your opponent this time, Anthony Rea?
“He’s a good, strong, all round fighter. He’s very experienced.”
You go into your first fight for BAMMA unbeaten. Are you feeling confident you will win?
“I go into every fight confident.”
Can we expect to see you on BAMMA shows in the future?
“I’ve just signed a four fight contract with BAMMA with the option to extend after that. I’m looking forward to the show because BAMMA is a great show and good test for me.”
Is there anyone in the pipeline for you to fight after Anthony?
“Well, there have been a few names thrown about which we’ve talked about. Basically, when I’ve beaten Anthony, I want that BAMMA belt. I’m looking forward to every fight with BAMMA and can’t wait to test myself against some of the international fighters.”
What will your routine be on fight day?
“Just relaxing really. I’ll do a bit of shadow boxing and getting mentally focused. Basically I’ll just relax, kill time until the fight; make sure I eat and drink enough and get myself ready to go.”
Thanks Jimi, any message for Anthony?
“I look forward to seeing you in the cage and beating you. I hope we can put on a good show for everyone who has paid to come to watch.”