Having overcome COVID-19, Jimmie Rivera gets back in the octagon this Wednesday at UFC Fight Island 1. There, he’ll meet fellow bantamweight Cody Stamann in a featherweight bout.
That’s a side effect of the short-notice nature of the fight. Still, the good news is Rivera (22-4) is fighting again. For the first time since a loss to newly minted bantamweight champ Petr Yan last year.
And, he beat COVID, which he described for Cageside Press during the UFC Fight Island 1 media day.
“I had three bad days,” Rivera recalled of his experience with the disease. “The first day I had, like a backache, fever on and off, I was just super tired, super fatigued. And then the second day went into it just had a backache and fever on and off. And then third day, I just had a backache. And by the fourth day, I was fine. I did have like a little bit of like a wet cough, nothing too bad. But I felt sh*tty for three days. And after the third day, I was fine and felt great.”
Of course, Rivera acknowledges that as a professional athlete, he does take care of himself, and eats well. Which likely gave him an edge. Yet because he kicked the virus so early on, he’s able to get back to action now, similar to fellow UFC fighter Lyman Good, who was the first UFC athlete to reveal a positive COVID-19 diagnosis.
Now, it’s on to Stamann, as Rivera looks to get back in the win column. And back into the mix.
Rivera has fought a number of the best featherweights, including new champ Yan, and top contenders Aljamain Sterling and Marlon Moraes. Asked how he thinks Yan pairs up against the two top contenders, Rivera replied that “I think Yan matches up pretty well against a lot of the guys. Except, I feel like to be honest with you, with me. I went into that fight with Yan, I lost about a minute of 15 minutes. And I just learned the hard way, you’re up in the round, you can’t just kind of coast towards the the end, which I did.”
That’s something, Rivera admitted, that he had done in the previous fights. He won’t anymore. “You’ve got to fight all the way to the bell. So the hard lesson learned with Yan, but a lesson learned. I think Yan, whoever he does fight next, he’s gonna do really well until I get a rematch with him.”
Watch the full UFC Fight Island 1 virtual media day press scrum with Jimmie Rivera above.