Former UFC bantamweight contender Jimmie Rivera is pumped for his Bare-Knuckle FC debut, but he knows some of the risks that come with it.
Rivera signed with BKFC following a long tenure with the UFC which featured wins over the likes of Urijah Faber, John Dodson, and Pedro Munhoz. He’s set to make his first walk to the BKFC cage on June 24th against the undefeated featherweight Howard Davis.
Rivera will follow in the footsteps of Mike Perry, Paige VanZant, and Chad Mendes among former UFC fighters who have signed with BKFC. Along with watching their fights, he’s paid close attention to how they’ve handled the physical toll that can come with the sport.
During an exclusive interview with MMA News, Rivera talked about the challenges that come with switching to bare-knuckle boxing.
“I think one of the biggest concerns with going to BKFC isn’t getting hit. Everyone’s like ‘are you worried about getting hit with a bare knuckle’ and I’ve been kicked in the face with a shin, what do you think hurts more? A shin to my face or the knuckles? I’m not worried about getting punched, I’m more worried about punching and hitting someone on the top of the head or something like that.
“Mike Perry’s last fight, he stopped throwing as much because his hands hurt so bad from throwing. When I was watching his fight, his hands just landed on that guy’s face the whole time. He never really threw a bad shot. So I can’t imagine what your hands go through for those ten minutes, two five-minute rounds and how your hands feel afterward.
“I saw Chad Mendes did an interview and his hands were still puffy after the fight. So it’s more about where to hit rather than worrying about getting hit.”
Rivera will look to replicate Perry and Mendes’ early success in the BKFC ring. Perry most recently earned a win over Julian Lane while Mendes won his debut over Joshuah Alvarez back in February.
BKFC and bare-knuckle boxing, in general, have been the target of criticism in recent years for the sheer brutality of the fights. A matchup between former UFC fighter Artem Lobov and Paulie Malignaggi showcased the damage that fighters can take from hitting someone without padding.
Rivera also told MMA News that he’s being paid 50% more than what he earned during his UFC contract. He’s happy in his new home at BKFC and will look to make a statement in his debut on June 24th.
What are your thoughts on Jimmie Rivera making the switch from MMA to bare-knuckle boxing?