UFC Bantamweight Contender Jimmie Rivera hopes to get a title shot if he defeats Marlon Moraes. He is currently focused on the best of the best in the division – TJ Dillashaw, Cody Garbrandt, and Dominick Cruz.
He was unable to come to fruition in the desired amount of time before UFC 219, so he declined to fight Marlon Moraes then. Moraes initially had an offer to replace injured John Lineker, but he declined it.
Rivera had a chance for two official opponents for pay-per-view card (John Lineker and Dominick Cruz) but the things went problematic for him – he hasn’t fought since July. He was hoping to face Marlon Moraes in January but he was unlucky again. Rivera had to move off from that opponent.
But now he fights on the main event of UFC Fight Night main event on June 1 in Utica, New York. Jimmie Rivera claims UFC didn’t need to beg or manipulate him to change his mind about fighting Moraes. But he confessed that he received some “extra incentives” from the promotion. (quoted by bloodyelbow.com)
“There was some things that the UFC and I worked out, that they were able to work with me and give me,” Rivera told BloodyElbow.com. “One of the things we agreed on was that it would be a main-event fight. Now that you have T.J. and Cody, that fight’s gonna happen, the fight between Marlon and I is basically a No. 1 contender fight. If I get this win, I can’t get denied a title shot next.”
Jimmie Rivera clarifies that he has never been completely uninterested in facing Moraes. He even claims UFC asked him to face his opponent in February or March but this didn’t end up well for him. Jimmie Rivera didn’t want to reschedule the honeymoon with his wife.
“I wasn’t too interested in the beginning. I was really just focused on going on my honeymoon,” he said. “They were trying to push the fight in February, then March. We told the UFC, ‘We’ll make a decision and talk about it more when I get back, but right now, I’m just gonna focus on spending some time getting some vacation.’”
“I wanted to fight him when he agreed that he wanted to fight me in December, January. He said it was at 140, I gave him five pounds, then he said 145 pounds, I gave him 145 pounds. Then they said, ‘Jan. 20 you can fight.’ I said, ‘Alright, no problem.’ All of a sudden, they sent me a signed agreement for end of February. I said, ‘That’s not happening.’ Just because you agreed with him on his time, not my time. I’m taking my honeymoon with my wife that we planned and moved around three times — we’ve been married three years.”
As well as you know, titles are not always won by superior contenders. However, Jimmie Rivera is sure there is no doubt we will become the gold one if he defeats Marlon Moraes. Rivera simply doesn’t see anyone who can stop him on his way. TJ Dillashaw and Cody Garbrandt are coming off losses, while Raphael Assuncao hasn’t fought for a long period of time.
“El Terror” (21-1) hasn’t officially lost since his second pro bout in 2008. He said he’d be surprised if he doesn’t fight for the belt after the Moraes fight. He thinks the title picture is “clear enough.”
“They’ll never promise anything, because it all depends on, at the end of the day, it’s a business and what sells,” he said. “To make this a main event for a Fight Night card states itself as a No. 1 contender spot.
“It all depends on the performance of the night, who does well, and how that fight ends. I gotta go in there, guns a blazing, and try to finish him. That’s it.”
Many fans are surprised by the fact that Jimmie Rivera faces Marlon Moraes on June 1. Many think the fight should be held a lot earlier. However, Rivera claims that Edson Barboza vs Kevin Lee took the event’s top billing before he and Marlon Moraes signed.
“We were trying to shoot for April, but April didn’t work out,” he said. “So June 1 it’s going to be.”
Jimmie Rivera isn’t provoked by the fact he will have to wait more than two months to deal with the former WSOF champion. He believes this is a positive thing since he has more time to prepare.
“I just got back from vacation,” he said. “It gives me plenty of time to train and get ready for a five-round fight in case it goes the distance.”
Jimmie Rivera defeated Thomas Almeida in July 2017 but he hasn’t fought since. However, he is far from being concerned. He trained to face Dominick Cruz, and then John Lineker a few months ago. He had also planned to face Marlon Moraes in January.
“It’s not like I’m not in shape,” Rivera said. “I missed one week for vacation. We did a lot of stuff that was active; it’s not like I took a break.”
What do you think, will Jimmie Rivera be able to defeat Marlon Moraes and open up his road to the top?