UFC 219: Jimmie Rivera Talks His Opponent Change, Bullying, and More

Jimmie Rivera UFC
Jimmie Rivera Credit: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com

Whether it’s Dominick Cruz or John Lineker, Jimmie Rivera is confident the result will be the same: his hand will be getting raised.

The UFC’s bantamweight division is chock full of contenders. On December 30 at UFC 219, fourth ranked Jimmie ‘El Terror’ Rivera will look to cement himself atop the 135ers. Doing so could result in a title shot, if some sense returns to the UFC’s matchmaking process.

In today’s world of mixed martial arts, Rivera is a welcome sight. The fighter is as equally nice a person outside of competition as he is talented in the octagon.

As funny as it sounds, Rivera has flown a little under the radar in the UFC. With a record of 21-1 people are now starting to take notice of the Tiger Schulmann standout. With that in mind, ‘El Terror’ promises not to disappoint.

Recently, Cageside Press spoke with the Rivera about his upcoming fight at UFC 219, bullying, and more.

December 30 was supposed to be Rivera’s chance to go toe-to-toe with the greatest bantamweight in mixed martial arts history: ‘The Dominator’ Dominick Cruz. With the former champ having to pull out of the fight due to an injury, however, Rivera now sets his sights on John Lineker.

“Honestly it makes no difference,” Rivera said regarding his opponent change at UFC 219.

“I was looking forward to fighting Dominick [Cruz], but that’s the fight game. I’m glad Lineker stepped up but at the end of the day its going to be the same result, my hand is going to get raised.”

With TJ Dillashaw potentially clashing with Demetrious Johnson in a super fight, the bantamweight division could be in a bit of a pickle. We asked the Jersey native his thoughts; he offered simply, “The rankings don’t make sense and I haven’t been promised anything. You know in this game nothing is for sure.”

Often the only thing consistent in MMA is inconsistency. Take it for what it’s worth.

Rivera has long been one of the good guys in the sport of mixed martial arts. He is respectful both in and out of the octagon, but don’t mistake his kindness for weakness.

“You have to give these kids the tools to defend themselves, and I think a lot of times that starts with the parents.”

“Martial arts are so important,” Rivera said. “I think every kid should take some kind of martial arts for a year or two, its helps with confidence, courage, bullying.”

At the time of our conversation, the whole Keaton Jones twitter bullying scandal was breaking. As a result, the word “bullying” was on everyone’s mind. Rivera has a unique look into the bullying landscape. That’s because he is one of the head instructors at Tiger Schulmann’s Mixed Martial Arts Gyms.

“I see parents tell their kids to defend themselves,” said Rivera. “That’s easier said than done, you have to give these kids the tools to defend themselves, and I think a lot of times that starts with the parents.”

Weather he is dominating his foes inside the octagon or teaching the youth of tomorrow the necessary tools to be a good person, in many ways Jimmie Rivera is a new school athlete with an old school mentality.

UFC 219 takes place Saturday, December 30, live on PPV from the T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada. Rivera vs. Lineker airs as part of the main card.