How Thiago Santos Deceived Jimi Manuwa Into Accepting Fight

Thiago Santos reveals
Image Credit: Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Thiago “Marreta” Santos will be in his first main event at UFC Fight Night 137 in Sao Paulo, Brazil when he takes on Jimi Manuwa September 22nd.  Speaking to Brazilian reporters recently, Thiago Santos describes the struggles he had in making this bout a reality (Via MMAFighting):

“We volunteered to fight Manuwa and he didn’t accept it at first,” Santos said. “But then my manager Alex Davis said ‘let’s provoke him on Twitter, say he turned it down.’ At first I said ‘no, Alex, that’s not my thing,’ but he said, ‘Trust me, let’s try to get this fight.’ He sent me that text and I put it on Twitter, provoking Manuwa.

“That tweet went viral, a lot of people sharing it,” Santos continued, “and the UFC put more pressure over him because there was no one else (to fight) and there was no main event for UFC Sao Paulo, so he ended up rising to the bait.”

Manuwa’s bait-taking was made public when he posted his response to Santos’s challenge via Twitter:

But in what was a clever use of deception, knowing that trash talking isn’t his strong suit, it wasn’t Thiago Santos tweeting after all; it was his manager the entire time:

“Through that trash talk — which is not much of my thing, my manager helped me with that — we made the fight,” Santos said. “I went there and replied to him, said I don’t disrespect any opponent, but that he’s coming to Brazil and I would respond to him really well.

”I think I have to do more of [trash taking], but I can’t lose my identity, my characteristics,” Santos said. “I’m cool, no disrespect. I think there’s a limit to that. Maybe I’ll do it, but always with respect. There’s a limit, in my opinion. Guys like (Chael) Sonnen and (Conor) McGregor always cross this limit that does exist for me. I’ll do it when I think it’s necessary but without losing my identity.”

Do you think fighters need to trash talk to get the fights they want in this day and age?