UFC 228’s Jimmie Rivera talks John Dodson and Bullies

Jimmie Rivera UFC Utica Marlon Moraes
Jimmie Rivera Credit: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com

Jimmie Rivera is looking to get back on track following a rare loss, and to do it, he knows he can’t look past the dangerous John Dodson.

It’s fight week! UFC 228 is upon us. Most fans will be looking forward to the main event title fight between Tyron Woodley and Darren Till. Rightfully so. However, two of the bantamweight division’s best will collide on the FX prelims when Jimmie Rivera takes on John Dodson.

The fifth-ranked “El Terror” Rivera most recently fought back at June’s UFC Fight Night 131 offering in Utica, New York. Things didn’t go as planned for Rivera. He was knocked out just 33 seconds into his main event fight against Marlon Moraes. “El Terror” now looks to rebound from only the second defeat of his career.

John Dodson, meanwhile, hopes to string two wins together for the first time since 2015. He most recently defeated Pedro Munhoz via split decision at UFC 222 from March of this year. In short, you’ve got to motivated bantamweights about to clash.

Cageside Press caught up with Jimmie Rivera just a week prior to UFC 228, and the New York native is as focused as ever. “El Terror” explained that Dodson is the most important fight of his career. He also revealed the reason why he started training martial arts in the first place, and more.

As in life and any sport, set backs happen. Things didn’t go as planned for Rivera earlier this year. But this New Jersey native doesn’t comprehend the meaning of quit and he has absolutely no time to wallow in self-pity. That’s why Dodson represents the biggest fight in his nearly decade-long career.

“Dodson is the biggest fight of my career,” Rivera explained. “I have to get back to where I want to go and to do that, I have to go through Dodson. I’m not looking past him [Dodson] in any way,” Rivera said. “He is as tough as they come and he is fast as can be. But I’m on another level and I’m going to prove that again on Saturday [at UFC 228].”

“After six months of my training I was able to defend myself and I never got bullied again.”

If you are a fan of mixed martial arts then you already know that Rivera is an elite 135-pound fighter. But what you may not have known is why he got into martial arts in the first place. He was bullied. To hear Rivera tell it hits home.

“My mom brought me in [to the gym] for discipline but she didn’t know I was getting bullied in school,” Rivera explained. “The cool thing is after six months of my training I was able to defend myself and I never got bullied again.”

We would pay a lot of money to see the looks on those bullies faces now.

Rivera continues his path toward a title shot this Saturday night at UFC 228, when he takes on John Dodson in a featured FX prelim. Will “El Terror” get back to his winning ways or will “The Magician” fool us all?