Some friends and teammates have said they”ll only fight if a belt is one the line, but it looks like Jimi Manuwa and Alexander Gustafsson won’t be going that route, if the situation arises.
Due to Gustafsson’s impressive, stoppage win over Glover Teixeira in May, and because he’s the #2 ranked light-heavyweight, the expectation is that “The Mauler” will challenge for the 205 belt later this year. In addition, Daniel Cormier and Jon Jones are going to scrap on July 29th at UFC 214, and since Gustafsson dropped close decisions to both men, there’s a lot of buzz about rematches with either.
At UFC 214, however, Manuwa will also throw hands with Volkan Oezdemir. Since the British fighter is ranked #3, Manuwa’s also in the title shot mix. As a result, Manuwa has been fielding questions lately if he’d be willing to fight Gustafsson, who has become one of his friends, since “The Poster Boy” made the move to the latter’s Allstars camp in Sweden. Case in point, recently Manuwa had this to say about that very question (quote via MMA Mania):
Do you know what? We don’t even need to talk about it, what if you get the belt or whatever. We’ve got an understanding on that. For me anyway, there’ll be no problem, there’ll be no problem. There’s other people to fight; the belt is what we want, but if one of us gets it, then there are other ways around it. Maybe I’ll go up or come down, or do a boxing fight, or whatever. For me, it’s no problem. It’s really no problem. We’ve got love for each other, you know? Training together is more important, and helping each other to win our fights is more important. The belt is what we want, but it’s not everything, you know?
There you have it. Before it’s even a possibility, however, Manuwa will need to get Oezdemir and Gustafsson will have to dethrone either Cormier or Jones.
UFC 214 will go down in Anaheim, California.