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UFC: Thiago Santos wants to fight Jimi Manuwa in December

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Jay Rock
Jay Rock
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Thiago Santos headlined his first UFC event last week against Eryk Anders and sparked him to score a third-round stoppage. This was also Thiago’s middleweight debut and said that he felt good at that weight class and initially it was Jimi Manuwa against who he was supposed to step inside the octagon with, but Manuwa had to pull out following an injury.

Thiago Santos wants to fight Jimi Manuwa
UFC: Thiago Santos wants to fight Jimi Manuwa in December

“Anders is not a light heavyweight,” Santos said at the UFC Sao Paulo post-fight press conference (via MMA Fighting). “[This fight] was more for me to feel what it’s like to make 205 pounds. I felt really well. I got tired but it’s normal to get tired in a fight so intense like that. I felt well and conscious of what was happening. I felt power in my punches but I was a little bit slower. So I’ll sit down with my coaches and see what’s going to be done.”

“Even though my punches are heavier, I feel I was more resistant,” said Santos. “I took some hard punches and I didn’t feel them. At middleweight, due to the weight cut, and not being able to recover 100 percent, I am a little bit fragile. At middleweight, I was knocked out by [David Branch], who isn’t a knockout artist. He landed a punch and I was really upset by that.”

“Today, [Anders] landed a cross, he landed some heavy blows and I didn’t feel it. So that’s good, too. So not only are my punches stronger, but I’m more resistant. So there’s a lot at play. We have to see the good and the bad and see which pass we’re going to take.”

Although Santos was supposed to fight Manuwa and even though that fight never happened, he still wants to fight him in December.

“I hope that [Manuwa] recovers well,” said Santos. “I hope to meet with him in December so we can fulfill the contract that we signed.

“I want to fight at 205 against a guy that’s bigger than me like Manuwa so I can feel the pressure from a heavier guy. To see if I get punched by that guy and I change my mind and go back to 185 or step up. So, we’ll see.”

Thiago Santos has won six of his last seven fights, with only David Branch able to defeat him since the start of 2017.

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