Jimi Manuwa Contemplates Returning To MMA

Back in June, Jimi Manuwa made a decision that is never easy. After suffering a brutal KO loss to Aleksandar Rakic, “Poster Boy”, who was on a four-fight skid decided to hang up his gloves. It wasn’t more so because of the loss, but because Jimi wanted to get out before he suffered any permanent damage.

Combat sports can be ruthless once the miles start to accumulate. Fighters who’ve fought well into their 40s and 50s have had to deal with the effects, with their bodies taking a heavy toll. Only the fortunate have been able to walk away without much damage, but taking punches and kicks to the head will leave a lasting effect.

Jimi Manuwa (17-6 MMA) found himself in the thick of things in mid-2017, before he fought Volkan Oezdemir. In what was a title eliminator, Jimi was just one fight away from competing for the title. But that dream only lasted for 42 seconds, and Manuwa lost the subsequent three fights.

Jimi recently talked to BJPenn.com about the retirement, and the “itch” every retired fighter has to return to competition.

“It’s always in the back of your mind, calling you”, Manuwa said. “For me it’s very hard. It’s only been a few months since I fought. My mind is still kind of in it, my mind isn’t processing it all. [My retirement] is still in its infancy.

“I’m just trying to suppress the feeling and focus on other stuff.”

Manuwa, like most of the fighters who retire after suffering a loss, keeps playing back the fight, and how it could’ve played out very differently.

“That’s a fight where, again, I wasn’t switched on”, he said of his loss to Raki?. “Everybody would want to [end it on a more positive note], but you’ve got to put those things aside.

“It’s my health that I’m talking about. It’s not the actual loss — it’s a knockout loss.”

“I took that Volkan fight when I didn’t have to”, he said. “I could have waited and fought Cormier. I really regret that; that I didn’t fight Cormier in my career.”

Jimi Manuwa and Daniel Cormier went back and forth on social media, and the Brit revealed he didn’t like “DC” back then. However, Jimi let go of the animosity once he learnt Cormier was creating interest in the fight.

“I really disliked him”, he recalled. “He was the first fighter, at the time, that I had proper beef with. It would have been on-sight beef, not just UFC beef where everyone’s faking, cause where I’m from, beef is beef, and it’s on-sight. That’s how it was when I was growing up. That’s why I’ve never had any beef with any fighters, because I know how serious I take stuff like that.

“After that he DM’d me and said he was just trying to sell the fight or whatever”, Manuwa continued. “We actually met for the first time [after UFC 214] — we fought on the same card — I lost to Volkan and he lost to Jon Jones. We spoke the next day after his fight, and I met his kids, and we’ve respected each other ever since then.”

“I think styles make fights, and my style would have been all wrong for Cormier”, he said. “I was really confident in my camp and how that fight would have gone.

Finally, Jimi Manuwa also opened up about his options post retirement. He also left the door open for a boxing match, if something comes up.

“I’ve not really discussed it with [my family]”, he said of a potential comeback. “I don’t think my family are too keen on it, but they always respect my decisions and ability. I really don’t know. I’ll see how I feel. I haven’t even been training.

“I don’t know man, I’m not betting man”, he concluded with a laugh when asked how likely he is to fight again. “I might start feeling it soon. Maybe a boxing match that comes up… I don’t know, we’ll see.”

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