With two pro fights and two wins in under a minute you can understand the hype that is building around Cork's Lloyd Manning (2-0) ahead of Cage Warriors 81 this Saturday night in Dublin.
But let us get things straight, this is not just hype. Manning is a well decorated judoka and former world ranked sambo fighter before fully dedicating himself to MMA. His success continued into the amateur MMA ranks where he notched up wins over the likes of respected fighters like Tommy Martin and Joe McColgan before winning bronze at the IMMAF World Championships in Las Vegas.
Just over a year ago Manning made waves in his pro debut where he finished fellow debutant Nicolas Ott via TKO in under a minute. He followed this up with 50 second TKO win over the more experienced Nathan Sparks at Cage Warriors Unplugged at BT Studios London this past November.
Speaking to us about fighting at Cage Warriors Unplugged and how his first two pro fights went Manning said the following with genuine honesty and self belief:
"Of course it feels great to finish these guys so quick. I have a lot of power in my hands as a featherweight so I'm not surprised. The quicker the wins the happier I am.
"It was a great experience (fighting at BT Studios), a very different scene to what the usual fight scene is like. But it was run brilliantly and couldn't of gone better with a first round KO."
With Cage Warriors 81 this marks the promotions first event in Ireland in over two and a half years. Irish Cage Warriors cards in the past proved to be big nights for Irish fighters as performances seemed to elevate with the likes of Conor McGregor, Neil Seery, Cathal Pendred and many more enjoying great success in the promotion.
Now the next wave of Irish fighters will attempt to accomplish similar feats in the promotion and Manning is among them.
"It means a lot to me to be on such a big card and on the promotion's return to Ireland,," Manning said with excitement. "I am looking forward to it and of course the home crowd is always a positive thing."
The 26-year-old will face undefeated Scottish fighter Paull McBain (3-0) who, much like Manning, has scored three first round TKO finishes in his pro young career thus far. When I asked Manning what his thoughts on his opponent were he just said "I have none". And when I asked him for a prediction again he spoke with great frankness "I win. Simple as that."
For Manning it seems each opponent is faceless. Just another body in his way to achieving his goal of being the best and this can serves as great motivation for a fighter.
"The belt is always the goal," Manning stated. "If you're not in it to be the best you are wasting your time I believe. My only plan is to be world champion and I will fight anyone and do whatever it takes to achieve that."
Cage Warriors 81 goes down this Saturday night at the 3Arena in Dublin.
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