Former UFC light-heavyweight contender Jimi Manuwa is playing with the idea of returning to fighting but has ruled out stepping up to compete at heavyweight.

The 40-year-old Londoner announced his retirement from the sport in June 2019 after suffering a first-round knockout defeat to Aleksandar Rakic, his fourth UFC loss in a row.

Speaking exclusively to LowKickMMA, Manuwa has now revealed he could be ready to return to fighting, although he admits to having some mixed feeling about ending his short retirement.

“It’s up and down with me. Some days I think I want to come back, others I think fuck it, some days I want to go to boxing. It’s crazy because retirement it was never planned. It wasn’t planned for me anyway because if I had of won my fight (against Alexander Rakic) I would of carried on fighting. So, it’s nothing to do with my body or I feel slow or whatever. I’m still smashing everything in the gym. I still feel as fast as ever and as strong as ever. It’s very hard.

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Despite officially retiring Manuwa seems to be spending as much time in the gym as he did during his fight career. The power-punching Brit is in training once, twice, sometimes even three times a day.

“Some weeks I’ll go train like I’m in fight camp – twice a day. It’s what my body is used to. I’ve been doing it for the last 12-years or whatever. It’s what my body is used to. Sometimes I’ll be training two even three times a day like I’m in camp. Some days I won’t bother. I’ll just go gym to push weights and stuff. It’s kinda crazy to process in my head that I’m not actually competing.”

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Over the last few years Manuwa feels like he’d stopped improving as a fighter, he had thought of training as simply something he had to do, rather than a chance to enhance his skills. Now everything has changed, Manuwa is enjoying his work and continuously trying to improve the talent he has been blessed with.

“I’ve been training to get better as a martial artist. Lots of wrestling and technical boxing training, not just hitting pads. In this sport there is only so far you can get off of your talent. I got pretty far off my talent and skills, but I don’t feel like I learnt anything new in the last couple of years to keep up with the evolution of the sport.”

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To many Manuwa is a monstrous fighter capable of knocking out any man on the planet. The man himself though realises his limits. Those limits are the reason that should he come back, Maunwa will not be competing at heavyweight.

“I don’t think I’d fight at heavyweight. It would definitely be light heavyweight. I haven’t got bloated or put on too much weight. I’m still floating around 105KG (231lbs). I’m the same weight I’ve always been you know when I’ve been in camp. Going to heavyweight I think those guys would be way too big for me.”

Should Jimi Manuwa end his retirement and return to fighting in the UFC?

A lifelong fight fan from Liverpool, England who has been covering mixed martial arts (MMA) and boxing for several years. Follow @JordanEllisUK on Twitter for all the latest fight news, views, interviews and live event coverage.