By Raphael Garcia
There was a time when the light heavyweight division was the weight class to watch in MMA. Not just in the UFC, but across all of MMA – stars were made at 205 pounds. That situation has changed in recent years, as the light heavyweight division has become bereft of new or emerging talent. However, the UFC Fight Night 107 main event created an opportunity for a new competitor to burst through, and Jimi Manuwa capitalized on that opportunity in spectacular fashion.
Using a highly efficient and economical style, Manuwa dispatched Corey Anderson in less than a round, stopping the Ultimate Fighter Season 19 winner. Manuwa may not have been on anyone’s short list of potential title contenders, but “The Poster Boy” has put together an impressive run over his five years of UFC service. In that time, he’s put together a 6-2 record. While those six wins are where people may look first, it’s those two losses that should get the most attention. The only two men to defeat Manuwa are Anthony Johnson and Alexander Gustafsson.
At 37 years of age, Manuwa isn’t young, fresh blood for the light heavyweight division in any sense of the word. However, he does offer a breath of fresh air for a group of fighters that sees Johnson, Gustafsson, Daniel Cormier, and Jon Jones going round robin on a carousel of title matchups. Ovince Saint Preux and Glover Teixeira tried to break in, but both were rebuffed. Manuwa has already defeated OSP, so perhaps a bout with Teixeira looms, with a win setting him up for a shot at the title.