It feels like it’s only right that I’m headlining UFC Fight Night London. This is my hometown and I’m the best MMA fighter in London so it’s about time. Everyone is going to see me knock someone out in my hometown. It doesn’t get much better than that.
2017 is going to be a massive year for me. I’m going to be taking the title this year so this is just the first step.
Since I found out I was headlining, my training has changed a little bit. I’m now preparing for a five-round fight. I’ve been doing more cardio and more sparring but it doesn’t change my mindset one bit.
Jimi Manuwa is writing for Express Sport in the build up to UFC Fight Night London
Jimi Manuwa is headlining the London event against Corey Anderson
What it means, is that my coaches can torture me a little more in training…but I will survive the pain and live to fight another day!
We might be training for five rounds but the fight won't be going on for five rounds, that’s for sure.
The reaction from my friends and family, when they found out I was headlining, has been as I expected. Everyone is happy for me and really supportive.
In my last performance, I got a big knockout victory so I’m confident I’m going to get a few more main events after this one. London is only the start.
I’m looking forward to walking out in the O2 and soaking up the atmosphere. For me, the crowd plays a big role. When I last fought in London against Gustafsson, I’d never heard a crowd like that before walking out for a fight.
Jimi Manuwa beat Ovince Saint Preux in Manchester at UFC 204
There are not many occasions in your life when you will experience 15,000 people cheering for you and I’m going to use that to my advantage on 18th March. I’m going to reward and repay every fan that cheers for me, with a great knockout performance.
There are so many talented British fighters in MMA at the moment, and a lot of them will be fighting on the card with me, which gives the fans even more to get excited about. There are a couple that really stand out for me, for different reasons. Leon Edwards has impressed me in his last couple of fights. He is young enough and hungry enough to make a name for himself in the UFC.
Then, on the other end of the spectrum, there's Brad Pickett, a real pioneer of MMA. He is one of the people I look up to in the UFC. It’s his last fight and I’m glad to be on the same card as him. He's always shown me a great deal of respect, even when other people doubted me, and I respect him for that.
I don’t feel any extra pressure because I'm headlining the card. If anything, I feel even happier. My fights are always exciting so it doesn’t matter if I’m on the prelims, on the main card or I’m the main event…..in my head, my fight is always the main event, always.
VIP tickets to UFC Fight Night London are still available from Ticketmaster or AXS.com