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UFC's Jimi Manuwa frustrated by contenders declining fights, says he'll never face Glover Teixeira

Light heavyweight Jimi Manuwa will take on Jan B┼éachowicz at UFC London in March. Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

When asked to describe what a win over Jan Blachowicz in March will do for him, UFC light heavyweight Jimi Manuwa is nothing if not honest.

"It won't move me at all, but there's nothing I can do about it," Manuwa said.

Manuwa (17-3) is scheduled to face Blachowicz at UFC Fight Night on March 17 in London. It's a rematch of a bout that took place less than two years ago in Poland, which Manuwa won via unanimous decision.

The bout was not particularly memorable, and Manuwa won comfortably. So why the rematch? According to Manuwa, no one else will fight him.

"I'm up for it," Manuwa said. "He was one of the warriors of the division who is not ducking fights, so I respect him for that.

"I've never turned down a fight in my life. I thought that's what this is all about. I thought that's what these people are here to do. This Glover Teixeira, this is the second time he's turned me down. I'm ranked No. 4, he's No. 3. It's a no-brainer. But he turned it down."

Without question, Teixeira (27-6) is the greatest source of Manuwa's frustration at the moment.

From his perspective, Teixeira is waiting for a title shot that is not even his. Following Daniel Cormier's title defense against Volkan Oezdemir last weekend, the next No. 1 contender is Alexander Gustafsson, who is actually a close friend of Manuwa's.

That would leave Teixeira without a fight. A matchup between the two in London looked like common sense to Manuwa, but it wasn't meant to be.

"There are only three people ranked above me and they're either tied up or don't want to fight," Manuwa said. "Blachowicz is the only one who accepted. What can I do?

"I'll tell you what, though. If it does come up that I get in front of [Teixeira], I'm going to turn him down. This was his last chance to fight me."

The whole situation exemplifies, perhaps, a bigger problem for Manuwa in the 205-pound division: a general lack of contenders.

Cormier, 38, intends to retire by the time he turns 40. Jon Jones' status remains unclear. Teixeira is also 38, and just turned Manuwa down. To top it off, he has that strong friendship with Gustafsson -- who could reach the title before him.

Manuwa says he's not focused on all that, and believes it will work itself out. He's also keeping all his options open.

"If Alex gets the belt, I'll smash Volkan and [Cormier], clean out the division that way," Manuwa said. "Maybe I'll go to heavyweight or maybe I'll drop down to middleweight. Well, looking at the size of [Francis] Ngannou, I don't think I'll be moving up to heavyweight. [Middleweight] is possible.

"Anything is possible. If I wanted to [move down to middleweight], I'll do it, 100 percent."