The British striker was supposed to fight Glover Teixeira at the event, but Teixeira suffered an injury and has been pulled from the card. Manuwa was initially reluctant to fight Santos, but claims the UFC persuaded him to accept the fight.
“I didn’t see any incentive in taking the fight because it was coming from a middleweight,” Manuwa said to MMA Fighting. “I wanted a good name, so I wasn’t really interested in fighting, but then the UFC persuaded me to take the fight. I had a little think about it, and Thiago Santos is a good fighter, so I accepted the fight.”
Santos is going to be making his light heavyweight division debut in this bout, as he previously competed at middleweight.
Manuwa knows his late replacement opponent is good and the Brit is not underestimating Santos when they meet this month.
“Every fighter in the UFC is good, I don’t underrate any fighter. I’m training very hard,” Manuwa said. “I see he’s a good fighter, was a big middleweight, so coming up to light heavyweight shouldn’t be a problem for him. I look forward to the challenge. I always look forward to the challenge. I look forward to coming to Brazil. I love Brazil, I’ve always wanted to come to Brazil, and I’m coming to collect some new Brazilian fans because I know Brazilians love a good fight, they love a good knockout, and that’s what I’m coming to give them.”
UFC Fight Night Sao Paulo takes place on Saturday, September 22 from the Ibirapueroa Gymnasium in Sao Paulo, Brazil with Jimi Manuwa and Thiago Santos headlining. Fightful is providing live coverage of the event, which airs live on Fox Sports 1.