Eyeing that next step up in competition, Jimmie Rivera got exactly what he wished for as he’s set to take on Urijah Faber, September 10th at UFC 203. Rivera who last fought back in January, defeated Iuri Alcantara via decision in his hometown of New Jersey. Faber had another crack at the title last month against arch rival Dominick Cruz but fell short once again.
The match up pins prospect vs. veteran but Rivera has been in the game for a long time. Despite being only 3-0 in the UFC, he’s fought 20 times in his pro MMA career and in his last showing was able to take out a veteran in Alcantara. Now he’s not only taking on a veteran but a legend in the sport who’s one of the most popular fighters to ever compete. Rivera knows the opportunity ahead of him but is all business.
“I am so excited to be fighting him but fighting him means that it’s just another day in the office. I have nothing against him, he’s a cool dude but it’s time to take care of business and work my way closer to that UFC belt.”
A former 4 time UFC title challenger, Faber may have never held UFC gold but he’s a former WEC champion and has won all but one non title fights in the UFC.
“I think Faber is great but as long as I have a fun training camp I can beat anyone,” Rivera said.
A win over Faber would definitely put Rivera in title talks as Faber is coming off a title fight in June. Despite a first close fight with Cruz, Faber had no answer in the rematch.
“I think how he goes about fighting Cruz is the wrong way,” Rivera said. “Cruz is a very talented and tricky fighter. He uses a lot of different set ups to get his strikes in.”
For Rivera, Faber will definitely present the toughest challenge of his career. Faber is a former champion and has fought the who’s who of the lower weight divisions but Rivera feels he’s ready for whatever Faber will throw at him.
“He’s going to try to take me to floor and wrestle me. Maybe the biggest threat is stopping his takedowns but like I said before I am going to have a full training camp and with that I am confident that I can stop everything he throws at me.”
A win over Faber could set him up for a title fight as bantamweight king Dominick Cruz awaits his next big challenge. With no fighter being able to figure Cruz out, Rivera feels he’s the one to do it.
“I think I match up great with Dominick Cruz, a lot of people do not know how to fight him,” Rivera said. “I have a great coach and also a great game plan if I get to fight him. A lot of people have a problem fighting him because they all fight him the wrong way. I think you need to be an experienced fighter to beat him. I believe that I have that experience to beat him.”
Despite being only 27 years old and 3-0 in the UFC, Rivera holds an impressive 19-1 pro MMA record and is riding an 18 fight win streak. Having formerly tried out for the Ultimate Fighter season 14 and failing to make the house, he is now making waves in the division. Training and also coaching at Tiger Schulmann’s MMA, he is a true product of the gym and credits his success to his upbringing there.
“My key to success is hard work, sweat, blood and tears. I think a lot of it has to also do with the way I was brought up through Tiger Schulmann’s and learning a lot of discipline has made me successful. My coach “Tiger” Danny Schulmann is a great coach and really understands the sport and knows how to get someone who has never done anything physical in their life before, to become a high level martial artist. For example I started Tiger Schulmann’s when I was 8 years old and look how far it has gotten me.”
Rivera is definitely on the right path as he seems to have found the right people to get him to where he is today. A lifelong martial artist, he embodies the team values and spirit as he’s used his knowledge and experience to pass it onto others.
“Learning the martial arts to become a better individual and be able to defend myself was my first goal. As I got older, my next goal was to pass on my knowledge to people who were just starting and to help them as my instructors help me to be successful. My first passion will always be teaching and second is fighting. My goal is to fight the best and beat the best and to one day become UFC champion and to know that I have fought and beaten the best.”
With the biggest fight of his career coming up, Rivera will look to put his name on the map when he takes on one of the greatest bantamweights in Faber. All of a sudden, the bantamweight division has become arguably the UFC’s most exciting division and Rivera is ready for his time.
Surveillance Video Shows Conor McGregor Smash Phone
In a new video released by TMZ Sports, UFC star is shown knocking a phone down and smashing it in front of the Fountainebleau hotel located in Miami, Florida.
In true McGregor fashion, he followed up the destruction of the phone by doing his famous “billionaire strut.”
McGregor got into an altercation with Ahmed Abdirzak who was following and filming McGregor with his cell phone while McGregor and his entourage were leaving the hotel.
McGregor reportedly extended his hand to offer a hand shake, only to pull it back and smack the phone out of Abdirzak’s hand and proceeding to stomp on it.
After a few stomps, McGregor picks up the phone and walks away. He was later arrested, that same day, and has been charged with felony robbery and misdemeanor criminal mischief, which could land him in prison for up to 6 years.
McGregor has pled not guilty on all charges and is scheduled for trial beginning in May.
Abdirzak filed a lawsuit against McGregor stemming from the incident, but dropped his suit after the two sides worked out a settlement.
Abdirzak was reportedly demanding north of $15,000.
INTERVIEW: John Kavanagh Talks Brave CF 13 in Belfast, Frans Mlambo’s Title Fight and SBG Ireland
Renowned head coach of SBG Ireland, John Kavanagh has helped put Irish MMA on the map. With his star student and multiple time UFC champion, Conor McGregor taking over the MMA world, the two have opened up unlimited doors for the rest of the team.
Today, Kavanagh is leading some of the younger generation to world title fights and global organisations. On June 9th, one of his promising young fighters, Frans Mlambo will get a shot at gold when he takes on Stephen Loman for the Brave Combat Federation bantamweight title.
The two met back in the promotion’s first ever show in Bahrain when Loman picked up a unanimous decision win over Mlambo. It was a learning experience for the young South African who has picked up 3 straight finishes since. Kavanagh is confident that the former IMMAF world champion, Mlambo has all the tools to become champion.
Also competing on the Brave CF 13 card from SBG Ireland, is Cian Cowley (0-1) who takes on Daniel Olejniczak (2-1-1) and Tommy Martin (6-4) who takes on Wales’ Aidan James (1-0).
I spoke to John Kavanagh on the upcoming Brave CF 13 show, Mlambo’s improvements and the team’s preparation for their upcoming bouts. Check out the interview below.
Farah Hannoun: Brave Combat Federation are making their first trip to Europe, you’ve witnessed the organization’s growth so how excited are you to see them go to Belfast?
John Kavanagh: Brave is fast becoming one of the world’s biggest MMA shows so it’s of course great to have them visit Ireland. However, I would have preferred Dublin because that’s my hometown.
Farah Hannoun: Frans Mlambo is headlining the event, with a record of 5-2, he’s practically grown up in the cage, how proud are to see him turn things around with 3 straight finishes since losing to Loman the first time?
John Kavanagh: He’s earned that title shot with exciting finishes both by submission and KO. He’s finding his way in the cage nicely now.
Farah Hannoun: What adjustments has Mlambo made since the first fight with Loman? What do you feel like went wrong the first-time round?
John Kavanagh: His grappling was too weak back then. He’s one of the best strikers I’ve ever seen and now his grappling is catching up. Frans is one of the top 135lb fighters in the world.
Farah Hannoun: Cian Cowley is set to make the walk for the second time in his pro career when he takes on Daniel Olejniczak, in light of the legal issues he’s had the misfortune of dealing with, how hard was it for him to put all that aside and focus on the fight?
John Kavanagh: Cian is very mature and focused. It’s not a problem for him to block out what’s going on outside.
Farah Hannoun: Also competing from SBG, is Tommy Martin who’s looking to bounce back when he takes on Aidan James, how’s he been looking at the gym and what can we expect from him?
John Kavanagh: Tommy is a technician. Clean striking, one of best doubles on my team and tidy on the ground. His opponent is similar, solid technician. This fight will be very interesting for those who like nice technique.
Farah Hannoun: You’ve played a massive role in the growth of Irish MMA, SBG and Conor McGregor. The impact that you and Conor have had has resulted in a lot of opportunities and a spotlight on the guys at the gym. Does the idea that people have the perception that the SBG guys get “special treatment” or extra opportunities bother you?
John Kavanagh: No, we’ve earned it 😉
Farah Hannoun: You must be really proud, bringing up a talent such as Frans from his IMMAF world champion days to now him getting a title shot at Brave CF, what are your thoughts on Frans as an individual and a fighter?
John Kavanagh: One of few 135lbs in the world with genuine 1 punch KO power. A very good singer and cook too!
Farah Hannoun: You wrote a mega successful book, Win or Learn, which is even a quote that people have been using a lot when competing in MMA. Your best-selling book was even translated to multiple languages and sold internationally which is incredible. Did you expect the book to be so successful when writing it and do you have plans on writing another one someday?
John Kavanagh: No, I thought maybe my mother would buy a few copies and that’d be it haha. I believe almost 50,000 sold worldwide and talk of a movie adaptation. It’s crazy. Maybe one more book when I’m retired.
After his impressive finish over Niko Price at UFC Sao Paulo, Vicente Luque eyeing Darren Till
When Luan Chagas was forced out of his fight versus Niko Price at UFC Sao Paulo, The UFC called Vicente Luque and he happily accepted.
He stepped in on short notice and took out one of the toughest surging welterweights in Niko Price.
He hurt Price with a counter right before locking in one of his favourite submissions, the D’arce choke. This marked Luque’s 5th win in 6 UFC outings making him one of the brightest young stars in the division.
“I wanted to go out there and have an impressive fight,” Luque said.
“I thought that was very important especially that I was coming off a 4 fight win streak then I had a loss so I wanted to keep that momentum. I think I did that and it definitely puts me back where I was before going after those top 15 guys.”
He now turns his attention to a fellow rising star, Darren Till. Till took out Cowboy Cerrone in the first round last month in Gdansk and Luque feels he would match up well with him.
“I would really like to fight Darren Till,” Luque said. “He’s a great striker and his last fight was really impressive against Cowboy. I’m a striker as well and I would love to test my striking and see who the best striker in the division is.”
And should the UFC decide to go a different direction, Luque would be content fighting anyone in the top 15. With 5 wins and 5 finishes in the division, he feels he’s earned a high ranked opponent or a big name.
“I want a top 15 opponent for sure but if they don’t give me that I’ll be looking for someone with a big name,” Luque said. “Guys like Alan Jouban who already have a name and everybody knows who they are. Those are the guys that I want to be fighting.”
Another name Luque is interested in is Colby Covington who fought on the same card as him. Covington took out former title challenger Demian Maia and proceeded to cut a heavy promo, blasting the Brazilian crowd.
Covington’s harsh and controversial comments towards Brazil didn’t sit well for Luque who sees multiple benefits of fighting him.
“I definitely think that was disrespectful not only to Brazilians but to anybody that watches MMA,” Luque said. “I don’t think that’s the posture of an athlete. I don’t take it personally but I would love to fight him no matter what whether he was disrespectful or not because he’s a top contender.”
The welterweight division is arguably the most talked about division. With rising stars such as Darren Till, Kamaru Usman, Colby Covington and Mike Perry, Luque feels like his name should be thrown in the mix too.
“I think I’m getting up there and slowly getting my spot. I’m having good fights and I know what I’m capable of and that’s what I’m trying to show. I’m doing my thing and I feel that my fights speak for themselves.”
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