Jorge Rivera on MMA 24/7: “I want to fight the best.”

Considered a veteran of mixed martial arts, 38-year-old Jorge Rivera (7-5 UFC, 19-7 Career) usually isn’t known for trash talking and name-calling. But as his career in the UFC has started to skyrocket, it seems it is a position he is comfortable with. As a co-main eventer of UFC 127 in the relatively new market in Australia, Rivera is stepping into the octagon against Michael Bisping (10-3 UFC, 20-3 Career) who is a natural born trash talker. While Rivera is doing a fantastic job hyping the fight and selling tickets, one thing is not to be mistaken: Rivera’s fists will send the biggest, loudest message of all.

After putting on an impressive three fight win streak (including a devastating knockout win over Nate Quarry), Rivera’s march to the top of the UFC Middleweight Division was put on halt after Rivera and his opponent Alessio Sakara suffered a string of unfortunate injuries. The bout between the two was signed for August 2010 at UFC 118, but Rivera was forced to pull out due to an arm injury. They agreed to fight at UFC 122 in Germany, but the fight was once again canceled when Sakara was unfit to compete due to flu-like symptoms.

While on Inside Fights’ MMA 24/7, Rivera expressed that he wasn’t too concerned by the setback. He told us “You know at first I was disappointed because at first it was sort of a shock. You’re in the back, you got your hands wrapped, you’re warming up and they come in and tell you ‘you’re not going to fight… your guy’s sick’.” He continued, “I really didn’t cry much about it. I just had to focus on what I had to do next and I asked for the Bisping fight.”

Jorge Rivera
“Before my career is over I want to fight the best.”

Inactive since March, Jorge Rivera has been itching to get back into the octagon and perform in front of his fans. Ring rust is not a factor that worries him; as a matter of fact he is embracing it. “I don’t believe in ring rust. I actually broke my jaw in [2007] and didn’t get back into the ring until [2008] when I fought Kendal Grove and I thought it was one of my better performances. I think a lot of that is psychological.” Rivera’s dedicated work ethic got him through the rough patch. “The truth is I’ve switched camps and I’ve been working with these camps now the whole time I’ve been out and I feel I’ve gotten better and better. The only thing I miss is fighting in front of thousands of people.”

Jorge Rivera will get that chance to fight in front of thousands of people once again, this time in Australia at UFC 127 against Michael “The Count” Bisping. In a fight that was touted to be a heavy hitting affair, it’s as verbally heavy hitting as it will be physically. Both Bisping and Rivera have been relentlessly laying into each other, making this arguably the most anticipated fight on the card with Penn and Fitch absent from major media appearances. Harsh words have been exchanged on both ends, but Rivera does have a lot of respect for Bisping.

“It is what it is, I’ll hype up the fight and whatever. But I respect every person that steps in [the octagon]. Not just Michael Bisping but every single person that puts their life on the line and steps in that cage has got big balls. And you need to respect them because when you get to the UFC, you’re no slouch.”

“I do respect him and I do respect what he brings to the table. I think it’s gonna be a good fight… it’s gonna be a short one in my favor…”

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