Babajimi ‘Jimi’ Manuwa is a British mixed martial artist best known for his brief but successful career in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) (Ultimate Fighting Championship). He, like most self-made champions, had a tough childhood filled with loneliness and run-ins with the law. The unhappy adolescent was born in California and lived in Nigeria for a while before moving to London at the age of ten. Manuwa began training for the sport in 2007 and made his ring debut on July 26, 2008 at FCFN 8, where he won more than a dozen of his first fights. He went on to fight in several promotions, capturing the UCMMA Lightweight title and defending it on more than half a dozen occasions. He was already one of the most fearsome competitors in the UFC’s rooster when he was signed on, and despite losing a few key fights, he remained one of the most feared fighters, earning one ‘Fight of the Night’ honor and two ‘Performance of the Night’ bonuses. He is currently ranked #5 in the UFC Light Heavyweight division.
His Childhood and Adolescence
Jimi Manuwa was born on February 18, 1980, in the Sacramento district of California to British and Scottish middle-class parents. After experiencing difficulties in the United States after the birth of Jimi, the family relocated to Nigeria, Africa.
Jimi was ten years old when the family relocated to London, and he was a troubled child who got into conflicts with classmates and people on the street. He was also regarded to be mentally sick by his family at one point.
A tumultuous upbringing paved the way for a perilous adolescence, complete with a slew of new issues and run-ins with the law. He had never done well in school and had no clear plans for the future. He put in a lot of effort to become a physically strong man, yet he was also a kid who committed burglaries.
In an interview, he acknowledged to shoplifting and stealing computers, among other things, and later excused his actions by claiming that he, like all the other youths in his neighborhood, wanted to make money quickly.
His disruptive behavior and activities led to his expulsion from school, and he was detained several times. He felt bad about making it tough for his family to deal with him, and because the family was often in financial trouble, he made sure that his family was unaware of what he was up to.
After seeing one of his friends making a lot of money fighting in a cage, Jimi was arrested for stealing in 2002 and released a year later. That’s when he decided to pursue a career in fighting.
A Career of Jimi Manuwa
By 2007, Jimi Manuwa was putting in long hours of training in preparation for a career in weightlifting or wrestling. After suffering an injury during one of those intensive training sessions, Manuwa decided to pursue MMA as a career and became affiliated with the UCMMA promotion.
He was a natural, and it didn’t take him long to pick up on the fighting methods, as he won his first encounter against Tom King in 2008. In February 2009, he won the UCMMA Light Heavyweight championship from Ryan Robinson in his fourth fight with the company.
Jimi had not lost a single fight by that point, and when he won the championship, he realized that having a title wasn’t enough; he now had to defend it against a slew of talented opponents.
Manuwa, on the other hand, was no ordinary boxer, and he set a record for defending his title for the following five fights in a row, which he still retains to this day. When the management of the Ultimate Fighting Championship learned about his presence in the ring, they offered him a contract.
For any other MMA athlete, fighting in the UFC would be a dream come true, but Manuwa was nothing like the rest. He understood what it meant to be a part of the UFC, and he politely denied the offer, indicating that he was not yet ready to compete in the big league.
Another company that signed Manuwa was BAMMA, and he accepted the offer since it was the ideal final training ground for him before making his UFC debut.
His undefeated streak continued, and he ultimately joined the UFC in July 2012. His arrival was widely anticipated owing to his impressive record of victories without a loss, and in his debut against Kyle Kingsbury on September 29th 2012, Manuwa shown that he was a dangerous fighter who wasn’t to be taken lightly, winning the fight in just two rounds via knockout.
The second UFC combatant to face Manuwa’s wrath was Cyrille Diabate, and Manuwa was awarded the winner with a knockout in the first round. Manuwa extended his winning streak in October 2013, defeating Ryan Jimmo, his third opponent.
However, in March 2014, Manuwa suffered his first professional defeat at the hands of Alexander Gustafsson, but he fought hard against his opponent. The fight was so ferocious that they were both given a Fight of the Night bonus for it.
When his next fight was announced, Manuwa withdrew out due to an injury, and he was out of the ring for over a year. On April 11th, 2015, he returned to the UFC ring against Jan Blachowicz, and was awarded the winner by an anonymous decision.
Despite losing his next fight in September 2015 against Anthony Johnson, it was rumored that Manuwa was suffering from an undisclosed ailment, prompting him to cancel his next scheduled bout against Nikita Krylo.
After defeating Ovince Preux in the second round upon his return in October 2016, he got his first Performance of the Night bonus of his career. His lethal fists, as well as his injuries, were now the talk of the town. For a brief period of time, it was even suggested that Manuwa would withdraw from the ring permanently.
Manuwa, on the other hand, disproved the rumors by knocking out his opponent Corey Anderson in the first round on March 18, 2017. For the second time in his career, he was almost certain to get the Effort of the Night bonus for this performance, and he did.
Manuwa fought Volka Oezdemir on July 29, 2017, in his final battle until now, he was knocked out in the first round. It was a very rare occurrence in the ring, and speculation that Manuwa was no longer a feared fighter resurfaced.
Personal Experiences of Jimi Manuwa
Jimi Manuwa opens up about his difficult childhood, saying that while it made him stronger as a person, he wouldn’t want another child to go through what he did.
Manuwa founded Lion’s Pride MMA in 2011 to provide world-class training to young people interested in pursuing a career in Mixed Martial Arts.
Manuwa also collaborates closely with PETA in their efforts to rehabilitate stray animals and conserve endangered species.
Manuwa, like most MMA athletes, has kept his personal life private, however he is married to Nina Quaranta, the gorgeous mother of four of his children.
Estimated Net Worth
Jimi Manuwa is one of the wealthiest MMA fighters and one of the most popular. Jimi Manuwa’s net worth is estimated to be $1.5 million, according to Wikipedia, Forbes, and Business Insider.