Thiago Santos Admits Trash Talking Landed Him The Fight With Jimi Manuwa

By: Nathan Zur
Sep 3, 2018

Heavy-handed Brazilian middleweight Thiago Santos will make his fourth appearance this year when he takes on fellow knockout artist Jimi Manuwa at light heavyweight at UFC Fight Night 137 on Sept. 22. Santos replaced Manuwa’s original opponent, Glover Teixeira, who was forced to pull out of the bout due to injury.

The 34-year-old revealed during a UFC media day on Tuesday in Brazil that he only got the fight after he got under the skin of Manuwa on Twitter courtesy of manager Alex Davis, who encouraged the Brazilian to send the tweets.

”We volunteered to fight Manuwa and he didn’t accept it at first,” Santos told Brazilian reporters. “But then my manager Alex Davis said ‘let’s provoke him on Twitter, say he turned it down.’ At first I said ‘no, Alex, that’s not my thing,’ but he said, ‘Trust me, let’s try to get this fight.’ He sent me that text and I put it on Twitter, provoking Manuwa.

”That tweet went viral, a lot of people sharing it,” Santos added, “and the UFC put more pressure over him because there was no one else (to fight) and there was no main event for UFC Sao Paulo, so he ended up rising to the bait. Through that trash talk — which is not much of my thing, my manager helped me with that — we made the fight. I went there and replied to him, said I don’t disrespect any opponent, but that he’s coming to Brazil and I would respond to him really well.

”I don’t know, I think that really got in his head, he was a bit angry, said some crap on Twitter, said he would teach me a lesson through violence, something like that [laughs]. I found it funny, I even favorited the tweet [laughs], but I didn’t pay any more attention. My goal was to get the fight and we had already got it, so it’s done.”

Manuwa found out about who actually sent the tweet but maintains it didn’t get to him and that he’ll do his talking inside the Octagon when the pair meet later this month.

”So what does that mean? That I’m scared fight him, that I think I’m gonna lose?” Manuwa said of Santos’ initial tweet, laughing about it. “No, that’s not the case.”

”His manager did a shit job in getting the fight done,” the light heavyweight contender continued. “It doesn’t matter what… Listen, I’m no trash talker, I’ve always let the fight do the talking for me, so it doesn’t matter what he says or I say, we’re got a fight and find out who’s the better man. It doesn’t matter he said or I said or his manager said or whoever said, we’re gonna fight on Sept. 22.”

Despite the fact Santos is a respectful fighter; he admits the trash talk got him the fight with Manuwa and may look to do it again in the future but to get better opportunities in the sport provided it doesn’t cross the line.

”I think I have to do more of that, but I can’t lose my identity, my characteristics,” Santos said. “I’m cool, no disrespect. I think there’s a limit to that. Maybe I’ll do it, but always with respect. There’s a limit, in my opinion. Guys like (Chael) Sonnen and (Conor) McGregor always cross this limit that does exist for me. I’ll do it when I think it’s necessary but without losing my identity.”

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