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Jimi Manuwa: Shogun Rua won't get any respect at UFC Fight Night 56 until after I defeat him

"Poster Boy" also revealed that he is training with Alexander Gustafsson ahead of this pivotal light heavyweight showdown.

Bradley Kanaris

In any sport, it's almost a certainty that when you make it to the big leagues, you will eventually face one of the idols you grew up rooting for.

Jimi Manuwa will experience that firsthand when he takes on former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) light heavyweight champion and longtime mixed martial arts (MMA) veteran, Mauricio Rua, in the main event of UFC Fight Night 56.

Scheduled to throw down against "Shogun" at Ginasio Municipal Tancredo Neves in Uberlandia, Minas Gerais, Brazil, on Nov. 8, 2014, Manuwa says he has to make sure he doesn't show Rua the respect he deserves until after he beats him up.

He explained his predicament to MMA Junkie:

"He was my favorite fighter at one time. Before I even trained for the first time, I was watching him, and he was my favorite fighter. Now it's an honor to be fighting him."

As far as showing respect to the man he grew up watching dominate PRIDE FC before he even had his first pro MMA fight, Manuwa says it won't come until after he defeats him inside the Octagon.

"There's going to be no respect in that cage until my hand is raised, and then the respect will come. We're here to fight. He's here to beat me up, and I'm here to beat him up. I think ‘Shogun' is a great fighter. He's always dangerous, even when he's beat up. After I beat him it's going to be nothing but big fights for me."

Manuwa suffered the first loss of his MMA career at the hands of Alexander Gustafsson back at UFC Fight Night 37 earlier this year. Not one to hold grudges, Jimi says he is now training with "The Mauler" ahead of one of the most important fights in his career.

It also doesn't hurt that Gus has a win over "Shogun."

But that isn't the sole reason for training with the towering Swede, as Manuwa says there were already plans in motion to train together before the they threw down inside the Octagon this past March.

"I'm at Allstars Gym now, and it made a lot of sense to me. I was going to train with Alex before our fight came up. Then our fight came up, so we couldn't train together. We had to wait until after our fight to start training together."

With a victory over Rua, Manuwa believes he is a win (or two) away from title contention. Something Team Rua believes is the case for them, as well. But only one man can make that giant step forward while the other will be forced to pick up the pieces and go back to the drawing board.

So, who will prevail, the wily veteran or the up-and-coming fighter who won't be star struck once the cage door slams shut?

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