History in the making: Jimi Manuwa fractures Kyle Kingsbury to win his UFC debut

BAMMA

"Three years from now, I will have the UFC belt." --Jimi Manuwa, Dec. 7, 2011.

For most up-and-coming mixed martial arts (MMA) fighters toiling away on the regional circuit, the "ultimate" goal is to one day become good enough to get an offer from Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), the world's largest combat sports promotion.

Then again, Jimi Manuwa is not like most fighters.

That could help explain why the hulking Brit turned down an offer to compete inside the Octagon. Not once, but twice, because Manuwa didn't believe he was ready for the big leagues. But that didn't stop UFC matchmakers from calling, as they were likely fascinated with "Poster Boy."

After all, who says "no" to UFC?

The third time was the proverbial charm. After racking up a staggering 11 wins -- all of them finishes -- Manuwa signed on the dotted line for the promotion's UFC on FUEL TV 5 telecast, which took place right in his backyard at the Capital FM Arena in Nottingham, England, on Sept. 29, 2012.

Welcoming him to the Octagon would be the venerable Kyle Kingsbury.

After putting together four consecutive wins in the crowded light heavyweight division, Kingsbury had fallen on hard times, dropping back-to-back fights to Stephan Bonnar and Glover Teixeira. But aside from those hiccups, "Kingsbu" was a dangerous combatant, who above all, was battle tested and unafraid to make things dirty.

That was just fine with Manuwa.

Taking place on the Facebook "Prelims" portion of the card, Kingsbury looked to take things south and had some initial success early on. Unfortunately, he was unable to keep it there and once Manuwa got back to his feet, he put on a striking clinic that lasted for two rounds.

The results speak for themselves.

Kingsbu Eye

Ouch.

The ringside physician brought a halt to the 205-pound action after Kingsbury was unable to open his left eye. While the former "Ultimate Fighter" contestant was disappointed with the stoppage, an MRI later revealed he suffered multiple face fractures as a result of his one-sided beating.

Jimi Manuwa had arrived.

But he was far from a one-hit wonder, following up his dominant performance at home with another two wins in his native England. After Cyrille Diabate called it quits at UFC on FUEL TV 7, Ryan Jimmo was waved off after suffering a leg injury at UFC Fight Night 30.

And as far as Manuwa's cardio is concerned, the jury is still out.

That's because "Poster Boy" has never been to the judges' scorecards in 14 professional fights, a trend he hopes to continue when he locks horns with former division number one contender Alexander Gustafsson in the main event of UFC Fight Night 37 this Saturday (March 8, 2014) in -- you guessed it -- London, England.

Manuwa has arrived ... but is he here to stay? We'll find out in just a few days.

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