SpitballingPod Interviews Jimmie Rivera
Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of speaking with UFC Bantamweight contender Jimmie Rivera. We discussed his roots into MMA and the chances of him receiving the next title shot. Listen to the interview below or read the full transcript beneath the player. Enjoy
Luke: Hi Jimmie, its Luke Byron. Thanks for giving me some of your time today
Jimmie: Hey, no problem, man.
Luke: How did you originally get into MMA?
Jimmie: I started when I was a kid, nine years old. I moved to a new town, I was getting picked on and so I was acting out at home. My Mum wanted to bring me some discipline, and you know a lot of times, kids aren’t really very vocal about bullying. I went in, my Mom took me in there and I fell in love with it right away; I wanted to be able to defend myself and I really grasped it, and enjoyed it a lot, so I wanted to take it further – 18 years later, look I’m here now and I’m fighting in the UFC.
Luke: Congrats on the win last time out against Thomas Almeida - did that fight go as expected and were you happy with the performance?
Jimmie: I’ll be honest – I wanted to knock him out. I had him wobbled twice in the first, I really wanted to finish him, but he’s really tough, he’s not 21-2 for nothing. I’m happy with the decision, but I’d have loved to finish him
Luke: You hold one of the longest win streaks in MMA, what do you attribute that to?
Jimmie: Hard work and dedication
Luke: You called out Dominick Cruz after the win over Almeida. Is that a fight that there have been talks for and you’re still looking for next?
Jimmie: There’s been talks, but nothing happening. He’s got to be the one that wants to take the fight. It’s either him, TJ or Cody that I’ll fight next. We asked for Assuncao and they said no and gave me Almeida, and said that was the way to the title, so I’m looking at TJ, Cody or Cruz. TJ and Cody are obviously set to fight, so either I can fight Cruz, or I get the winner of TJ and Cody.
Luke: Are you prepared to wait then, if it’s not Cruz?
Jimmie: Yeah, I can wait. There’s no-one that makes sense to fight – nobody’s been on the streak that I’ve been on and nobody has established their career in the way that I’ve done. I know Sterling called me out, but he’ll have to wait; I called him out three times and he turned it down, and now he asks to fight? He can wait his turn, when I’m the champ then maybe we’ll fight.
Luke: Is it that Cruz is injured, or is he holding off to face the winner of the title fight?
Jimmie: Supposedly he’s kinda injured, but I think he’s just scared as he has everything to lose, and I have everything to gain. He’s not very good, he’s not a good boxer at all. He’s just good at some takedowns and mixing it up a little bit, he doesn’t want a dangerous fight. He wants to fight for the belt, but he could have got the rematch right away.
Luke: You were quite vocal with Cruz after the last win; Do you feel there is more of a pressure now within MMA to be vocal in this ‘McGregor era? We’ve seen a lot more fighters being outspoken now and we’ve seen fighters earn bouts above their rankings because of it.
Jimmie: You’ve got to be vocal. If you want something, then you’ve got to be vocal so you can get what you want.
Luke: Who do you think wins out of Cody and TJ?
Jimmie: I don’t care who wins, I just wanna fight for the belt. I don’t know who wins in all honesty. Supposedly Cody has footage of him knocking out TJ, but we never saw it. For me, I don’t care who wins, I just want to fight the winner of it.
Luke: You’ve sparred TJ before haven’t you?
Jimmie: Yeah, three or four years back.
Luke: Would that give you any confidence going into a fight with him?
Jimmie: Definitely, he doesn’t hit hard. It really boosted my confidence, and this was before I was even in the UFC. I know I can beat him, I just need the shot.
Luke: You’ve now had 5 fights within the UFC, and to people outside of the sport, the name UFC is more synonymous than MMA itself. Having fought under various different organisations, how severe is the bridge in talent?
Jimmie: The skill level isn’t crazy, tremendously good from some of the smaller tougher promotions, but the different is just how tough they are. I’ve had tough wars outside of the UFC, it’s very hard to tell. Every person is a little different.
Luke: Thanks for your time today Jimmie, I really appreciate it, and I hope you get the title shot next.
Jimmie: Thanks so much, thanks for taking the time out.