The rankings in mixed martial arts are very confusing and at times seem completely arbitrary. It is rare that the #1 ranked fighter actually gets a title shot.
In today’s MMA landscape, every division in the UFC is chock-full of fighters with winning records that seemingly never get their shot at the title or are habitually overlooked. This is the case for two elite athletes set to square off at UFC on FOX 25. At the event later this month, the #5 ranked fighter, Jimmie Rivera, will go to war with #9 ranked Thomas Almeida.
We recently caught up with Rivera a day after his twenty-ninth birthday, and asked him about those apparent random rankings. “I don’t pay attention to them,” Rivera said. “For the casual fan its cool, but I’m focused on who can help me get that title shot.”
Considering the combined record of Rivera and Almeida is 41-2, one would have to think the victor of this contest is next in line for a title shot. “This is basically a title eliminator, I mean, how can you deny the winner of this fight,” Rivera added. “Once I win, it will be five straight in the UFC, I should be next (in line).”
UFC on FOX 25 will take place in Long Island, NY, at the Nassau Coliseum, pretty much in ‘El Terror’s’ backyard. “It’s going to be great man, I’m going to have family there, a bunch of teammates, I can’t wait!”
Although the New York native just turned twenty-nine years old, he has been fighting professionally since 2008. He has competed in all the top MMA promotions on the planet: King of the Cage, Bellator, and of course currently for the UFC.
All that being said, we were still wondering, with so much on the line in this fight, and the fight being in his backyard, would there be any nerves; “No nerves, no pressure, win or lose I’m doing something that most people in the world can’t do” Rivera assured me.
We have yet to talk to a fighter who wasn’t completely confident of victory in their upcoming bout, and the #5 ranked bantamweight was no different. “The fight ends with me dropping bombs,” Rivera remarked. “Then a title shot, but first I have to take care of business against Almeida.”
He didn’t need to convince us, we’re already believers.
In this writer’s opinion, the UFC is missing the boat with this fight; these two are world class and this fight should be getting more of a promotional push.