Marlon Moraes wants to show Jimmie Rivera that he is a top bantamweight in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).
Moraes and Rivera have had a bit of a rivalry going into their UFC Utica main event. Rivera needed a replacement opponent at UFC 219 following Dominick Cruz’s injury. Moraes was initially willing to step up, but decided it wasn’t the right time. This led to a war of words between the two.
The two got heated at the UFC 25th Anniversary press conference when MMA News asked Rivera if he was confident that the bout would materialize following a string of bad luck. Moraes and Rivera traded verbal shots on stage inside the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY.
Speaking to UFC.com, Moraes said Rivera is underestimating him:
“I think I’m one of the best in the world and when I first signed with the UFC, he acted like I wasn’t deserving to fight him. That pissed me off a little bit because I was willing to fight anybody. I never tried to fight Jimmie Rivera from the beginning because it was personal; I just wanted to fight the guy because he’s one of the best in the world. Everybody likes to challenge themselves and likes to fight the best. I want to fight the best. He kept saying he wanted to fight the top guys, but man, I feel I’m at the top and June 1, I’m going to prove it.”
UFC Utica takes place inside Adirondack Bank Center in Utica, New York this Friday night (June 1). This will be the UFC’s debut in Utica, New York. The co-main event will see Gregor Gillespie take on Vinc Pichel. Heavyweights Walt Harris and Daniel Spitz will also collide. Veteran welterweights Jake Ellenberger and Ben Saunders will go to war.
How do you see Marlon Moraes vs. Jimmie Rivera ending?