Jimmie Rivera does not agree with Aljamain Sterling about many things, but one thing he does agree with The “Funkmaster” on is that their fight has been years in the making.
In a recent interview, Aljamain Sterling stated that the two have been engaged in trash talking tbat dates back six years. Jimmie Rivera views things a bit differently. According to the #5 ranked bantamweight, the only thing he wanted to talk about is shutting up and fighting:
“There is really no beef, Rivera told Bloody Elbow. “He says there is beef,” Rivera said. “Before I got into the UFC he was a top prospect and I wanted to fight him… He didn’t want to fight me [on the regionals]… I tried to fight him a couple of times [in the UFC] and he still said no.”
Evidently, there was a thaw in this alleged reluctance, because in only a matter of days at UFC Phoenix, Jimmie Rivera will finally get the match he wanted prior to entering the UFC when he takes on Aljamain Sterling in the featured ESPN prelim bout. So what changed? Rivera believes it’s all in the numbers. And right now, sitting at #5 in the bantamweight rankings and Sterling at #7, Sterling has two reasons to want to finally put up or shut up:
“It’s funny how it goes from his saying all this stuff to me being ranked above him and doing better,” Rivera said. “I think he’s had a lot to lose in the past… He didn’t want to lose his spot. He knows that I’m a tough opponent.”
UFC Phoenix takes place Sunday, February 17th from The Talking Stick Arena in Phoenix Arizona. The main card airs at 9:00 PM ET, with the ESPN prelims featuring Jimmie Rivera vs. Aljamain Sterling beginning at 7:00 PM ET.
What is your prediction for the his bantamweight bout between Jimmie Rivera and Aljamain Sterling at UFC Phoenix?