UFC bantamweight Jimmie Rivera will be making his Octagon return this Saturday at UFC 238 against Petr Yan inside the United Center in Chicago, Illinois, and he will do so with an opportunity to erase his recent setbacks. After winning a remarkable 20 consecutive fights, Rivera has now lost two of his last three contests at the hands of Marlon Moraes and Aljamain Sterling. In a recent interview on the Pull No Punches podcast, Rivera opened up on both losses, beginning with his first-round knockout loss to Moraes at UFC Fight Night 131 (Transcript via Bloody Elbow):
“For everybody watching that fight, it seemed like two-seconds,” Rivera said. “For me it was 10-15 seconds. I was like ‘body shot, body shot, blocking, blocking. F—k, it’s going to my head and my arm isn’t going hard enough. F—k!’ and he caught me,” Rivera reflected on the head-kick knockout loss. “I learned from that fight.”
Had Jimmie Rivera won that fight, he would have put himself in line for a title shot. But while no one likes to be head kicked into unconsciousness, Rivera feels that the Sterling loss stung even worse:
“Sterling was the worst. I didn’t show up to fight,” Rivera said. There were so many things I could have done. Even my jiu-jitsu is really good. I work with some great guy,” he said. “I got on top of him a couple times and I didn’t do anything… Myself, my coaches were upset. That wasn’t me.”
But those losses are now a thing of the past, and Jimmie Rivera will be entering the Octagon Saturday night with mind afresh and a renewed vigor:
“So many thing have happened in life, personal, with my business and with fighting,” Rivera said. “Sometimes it’s hard to stay on track. That’s what I did for this camp. I just focused on this camp,” Rivera shared. “I took breaks when I needed to take breaks. I took mental days when I needed to. Petr Yan is a tough SOB and I’m excited for the fight.”
How do you believe Jimmie Rivera will bounce back at UFC 238 against Petr Yan?