After over a year away, and battling COVID-19 alongside his wife, Jimmie Rivera finally got back to work on Wednesday.
The talented bantamweight picked up a win over another key fighter in the weight class, Cody Stamann, at UFC Fight Island 1. Albeit at featherweight, a decision made based on the short-notice nature of the fight.
The easier weight cut “definitely helped me a lot,” Rivera told Cageside Press following the fight. Especially given the timeframe. “I didn’t have to kill myself to make that weight, so it was nice to be able not to cut so much weight, I’ll tell you that.”
Rivera would lament not being in better shape against Stamann. But with Cody trying to fall back on his wrestling, Rivera was still able to maintain control and come out with his hand raised. Which leads to the question of what’s next, given the lost time he experienced over the past twelve months.
There’s no particular name, but Rivera is still interested in the Frankie Edgar fight, should the opportunity arise. When news broke that Pedro Munhoz had tested positive for COVID-10, Rivera campaigned to step up as a replacement. He didn’t get the gig, with the UFC instead pushing the fight back.
If for some reason Munhoz doesn’t make the new date, Rivera is still down, barring any injuries. “My foot and my shoulder hurt a little bit. Just going to get that checked out with my physical therapists back home. Besides that, if someone falls out, I’ll step in.” After all, he made the offer before.
After so much time away, however, Jimmie Rivera was just happy to get back in the octagon on Wednesday.
“People were asking me about the win, and I’m like ‘it’s just good to get back in there, man.’ I miss it. It’s been tough,” he admitted. “You know, 2020 has been a sh*tty year. From getting herniated discs in my neck to getting Coronavirus, and my wife dealing with it, other stuff we’re dealing with at home. 2020’s been a tough year and hopefully, you know as things are opened up now and it’s kind of come back to a little bit of the norm, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.”
Watch the full UFC Fight Island 1 virtual post-fight press scrum with Jimmie Rivera above.