AN ULTIMATE fighter from Croydon says he will not stop until he is the "very best in the world".
Jimi Manuwa, 33, has made serious waves in the mixed martial arts world and is undefeated in 13 fights, with 12 of them through stoppages.
He signed a contract last year with the multibillion-pound Ultimate Fighting Championship, recognised as the pinnacle of his sport.
He has won his first two fights in the promotion and is now preparing for his next bout, which he expects to take place later this year.
Jimi, who still lives in Croydon, said: "I won't stop until I'm the best in the world. That's what you've got to aim for. I think I can be.
"My whole life is geared towards training to be the best. If you are not prepared to make the sacrifices and change the way you are, then you won't make it.
"You have to eat very well, train in lots of different disciplines, learn the mental side of it. It's the hardest part about it, no doubt."
The hardman, formerly of Thornton Heath and South Norwood, owns a Croydon gym, Lions Pride MMA, on Tamworth Road.
He credits MMA for changing his life, admitting he was "not a saint" as a teenager.
Jimi added: "I certainly wasn't good but I wasn't the worst. I had to move schools a lot.
"I wish I had got into martial arts when I was a teenager. It would have given me something to work towards.
"There are some real young talents we train at the gym. It's great for them to be able to channel that aggression.
"I came into this very late but I've still got plenty of time."
In February, Jimi fought in front of a hometown crowd of more than 10,000 UFC fans at Wembley Arena.
He said: "That was brilliant especially because I was the only London fighter on the card. The support was fantastic. MMA is massive business in this country."
Nicknamed 'Poster Boy', Jimi believes his strengths are striking, knockout power and explosiveness, adding: "I'm also good at grappling and I work on my wrestling all the time but I think it's better for the crowd to see two fighters stand up and fight each other properly.
"That comes from people like Mike Tyson, who is my biggest influence as a fighter."