Jim Manning retired from mixed martial arts once, and in two years he was back in the octagon.

So he’s not quite ready to call his April 14th title fight his last.

“It could potentially be,” he said. “Maybe I’ll come back at 50 and win a title.”

Manning, a 41-year-old from Marion nicknamed “The Tooth,” hasn’t fought in seven months, since he improved to 5-0 as a professional after beating Fernando Perez by injury submission in 8:48 at Cage Titans 35.

But after fighting in five straight Cage Titans events, he skipped 36 and 37 while recovering from a broken nose and getting his personal life in order.

“There were just a couple things outside the ring I had to take care of before I could commit myself in the cage,” he said. “I spent some time down South at my mom’s house (in Florida), networking and trying to find work for future endeavors.”

About a month ago, Manning, who is 11-2 including his amateur bouts, started getting himself back in shape for another fight and now has his first shot at the vacant Cage Titans FC Lightweight Championship when he faces off against Dan Dubuque (5-2) of at 7 p.m. on April 14 at Plymouth Memorial Hall. Dubuque is ranked 12th in New England and 42nd in the Northeast among pro lightweights, while Manning is ranked 11th in New England and 37th in the Northeast.

“He is a full, well-rounded fighter,” said Manning, who met Dubuque during media obligations last weekend and came away impressed. “Super tough, super talented. Very technical. His footwork, his standup are really good. His wrestling is good. His Jiu Jitsu is good. He’s good everywhere. It’s what you would want for a title fight main event. He’s everything I could have asked for.”

Manning says he’ll have to prevent Dubuque, who has gone the distance 15 times in his pro and amateur career, from controlling the pace and making the match too methodical.

“I want to get in there and disrupt his rhythm,” Manning said. “The only way to do that is to be in the ring and move around with someone who constantly moves. From bell to bell he’s moving continuously.”

In order to keep up, Manning says he’s been focused on cardio.

“I’m probably in the best shape I’ve ever been in out of all my fights,” Manning said. “I’ve been doing more cardio and muscle endurance than I have for all the other fights in my career put together and we still have four weeks left.”

Manning’s biggest challenge recently is balancing his construction work and training. He usually trains at South Shore Sportfighting in Norwell, but the commute has become too expensive, which also contributed to his seventh-month hiatus, during which he considered retirement.

“I started getting a lot of people reaching out saying they’ll help me with the funding,” Manning said. “They were saying ‘I know this is your dream. Don’t stop now.’ People swayed me back.”

Manning works in construction, often six days a week, but has still found time to continue his boxing training in New Bedford. He doesn’t want to leave himself any excuses in his first main card.

“It’s definitely a special time for me,” he said. “All the hard work, the good days, the bad days, everything is all coming together.”

In order to free himself up to train over the next month, Manning allowed a friend to set up a GoFundMe page for him, even if asking for charity went against his instincts.

“There are people who are in 10 times worse of a position than I’m in right now,” he said. “I’m just new to the whole marketing thing. But there have been people close to me in my life who have gone above and beyond. I don’t have to put names out there -- they know who they are -- and I’m blessed to have those people in my life.

“The support is overwhelming. There’s some people who chatter about me being too old and I should hang it up. If I had stopped every time I heard that, I never would have stepped foot in the cage. It’s nice when people say ‘You’re inspiring and life isn’t over at 40.”

Heading into what could be his final professional MMA bout, Manning has just one goal in mind.

“Win,” he said. “Win at all costs. All the heartache and pain and suffering has helped me dig dep at these (training) sessions. Right now I don’t have any food in my fridge or cabinets. There are days I want to say I can’t do this anymore. I’m so close to the end it’s time to knock this one out of the park and make it happen.”

Follow Brendan Kurie on Twitter @BrendanKurieSCT