Jimi Manuwa ultimately wasn’t done when he decided to hang up his gloves.
After his fourth straight loss to Aleksandar Rakic last June, Manuwa (17-6 MMA, 6-6 UFC) announced his retirement, a decision he admits came in the moment.
“The love for fighting never left me,” Manuwa told MMA Junkie. “It was more the losses and how I felt at the time (is) why I decided to retire. The love of competition still runs deep in my blood, and I know it always will because that’s how I was made as a human being.”
It’s tough for Manuwa to gauge when exactly he’d be able to return considering the current circumstances of the global pandemic, but he’s been staying in shape.
“With this coronavirus, who knows when things are going to get back to normal,” Manuwa said. “All I’ve asked for is the gyms to be back open, so let’s see what happens. I really got back into my training, especially my boxing just before the virus hit, and it’s affected me the same as everyone else, but I’ve been getting into my home workouts and staying in shape.
“I’m training to be a better fighter and concentrate on things I should have been doing, which I wasn’t in camp. Now (that) I’ve had time to sit down and evaluate my training and the mistakes I made throughout my career, I can focus on becoming a more complete fighter.”
“I’d fight Rockhold in a heartbeat like I would everyone else, and I’ve shown that in my career,” Manuwa said. “Luke is a great fighter, former Strikeforce and UFC Champ. We both retired and have the itch to come back, so why not?”
Manuwa has competed against the division’s best, with notable wins over Corey Anderson, Jan Blachowicz, and Ovince Saint Preux. His last few outings haven’t gone his way, and he hopes to get the opportunity to run those losses back at some point.
“I’ve fought the who’s who in the division, yes, and there are a few losses that I know I should have not had,” Manuwa said. “But I was mentally not prepared, which is a part of my game, which I didn’t work on at all, and it’s the little things that count when you are at the top of the mountain.
“I’d like to get some of my losses back for starters, but at this moment I’m just taking it a day at a time and enjoying training, and getting better with one eye on the division.”