UFC Vegas 20: Pedro Munhoz Leaving First Rivera Fight in the Past

A rare chance for revenge awaits Pedro Munhoz at UFC Vegas 20.

“The Young Punisher” is lined up with old foe Jimmie Rivera. The pair first met in 2015, in Brazil — but despite Munhoz having home field advantage, it was Rivera getting his hand raised following a three-round split decision.

After a couple of false starts resulting in the fight being pushed back, the pair finally face off this Saturday, on the main card at the UFC Apex. The question now becomes, who has grown more as a fighter since the pair’s first encounter?

“We got a little more experience, we got a lot more hours inside the octagon. I’ve see some of his fight previews, seems like he’s got better in some skills here and there,” Munhoz (18-5, 1NC) observed, speaking to Cageside Press during a virtual media day to promote UFC Vegas 20. “I believe that I’m a better fighter too, than I was few years ago. So super excited man. Fighting Jimmie, great guy. Tough opponent. Great person and I’m looking forward to share the octagon with him.”

For those who watched the first fight, Munhoz added, they “kinda know a little bit what’s going to happen this time. It’s going to be fire.”

Key to Munhoz heading into the rematch is treating the fight with Rivera as something “brand new. No emotions at all. Just try to be professional.” After all, as Munhoz then put it, “each fight is a fight. We both got better, it was six years ago almost. We fought the best fighters in this division. I’m number eight, he’s number nine. It’s definitely something new.”

“I try not to get attached with anything that brings emotion from the last fight,” Munhoz added.

Munhoz, 34, has always been drawn to martial arts. “That is definitely something that I was born with, this spark. I grew up watching Jean-Claude Van Damme movies. And it’s something that I’ve been working on my whole life, to be the best fighter that I could be. But even more important be the best version of myself as a human being.”

Watch the full UFC Vegas 20 (UFC Fight Night 186) virtual media day scrum with Pedro Munhoz above. The event takes place this Saturday, February 27 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, NV.