Manuwa, who will be fighting in his backyard of London, England at the O2 Arena later today, said he is going to be the new face of the light heavyweight division in 2017.
“I’ve said it since the beginning, this is going to be a big year for me,” Manuwa told Damon Martin of FOX Sports. “I wanted to fight in December to carry on the momentum from the last fight but they couldn’t get me a fight. It was scheduled for January and now it’s in March. I plan on taking over the division this year."
The Brit is currently ranked at No. 4 in the official UFC light heavyweight rankings and plans to catapult into title contention with a knockout over the No. 6 ranked Anderson.
“I want to go after this fight, after I put Corey Anderson to sleep, I want the winner out of Cormier and 'Rumble'. I’m not looking past Anderson, he’s a very tough fighter, but I plan on talking that belt this year. This is the year for me. I’ve got no time to lose.”
While Manuwa didn't specify a preferred opponent, the 37-year-old will be looking for revenge against Johnson, who is one of only two fighters to stop Manuwa with strikes in the Octagon. The highly touted Johnson KO'd Manuwa at UFC 191, just a couple of fights after Alexander Gustafsson finished him at UFC Fight Night 37.
The top-ranked contender promises to finish Anderson in similar fashion at the O2 Arena.
“It’s not going five rounds. I’m training for five rounds but this isn’t going to go five rounds,” Manuwa said. “There’s no one that’s going to be able to take the full bombs that I’m going to be throwing. I’ve just got to be able to land once or twice and that’s it. That is it.
“There’s not going to be no grinding or nothing like that. I throw [expletive] atomic bombs. No one in the world can stand them.”
UFC Fight Night 107, which features Manuwa vs. Anderson in the main event, takes place later today, March 18, in London, England.