MMA stars are on a collision course at the top of the shallow division but they insist they will not meet again in the octagon
UFC star Alexander Gustafsson will NEVER fight British team-mate and friend Jimi Manuwa again – not even for the light-heavyweight title.
The MMA stars went to war in 2014, headlining a show in London that the heavy-handed Swede won with a flurry of second-round knees and punches.
But Londoner Manuwa reacted to his first defeat by moving his training regime to Gustafsson’s Allstars Training Centre in Stockholm where they are now firm friends.
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Manuwa’s stunning win over Corey Anderson in March means he is on target for his first title shot – with Daniel Cormier and Jon Jones set to fight for the strap in July.
But Gustaffson is currently rated the No.1 contender and has a fight on Sunday against Glover Teixeira, where a win could firm up his case for a five-round fight even more.
But Gustafsson – a close friend of fellow Manchester United hero Zlatan Ibrahimovic – insists he will never accept a rematch with his team-mate – not even for the ultimate gold.
He said: “We will not fight each other again. We are training partners, we are brothers.
“We hang out with each other every day and that is just the way it is. What are people going to do, force us to fight?
“They cannot force us to fight, they have to bite it and take it from there.
“Would I fight him for the title? No I would not. The friendship of course means more to me than the belt.
“Jimi is a training partner and friend of mine. He did the perfect fight because he made a statement against Corey Anderson.
“We are going to continue training and working together.”
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The 30-year-old – nicknamed the Mauler – has another emotional relationship helping him train for his attack on the title.
The MMA powerhouse became a father to little girl Ava earlier in May and instead of sleepless nights keeping him awake, the little bundle of joy is helping him work even harder.
He said: “Everyone is doing well, thank you.
“I have been training 100 per cent the whole way through.
“Will fatherhood change me? It has brought a lot of extra motivation to my training, it has made me train harder.”