Even at 0-3, UFC 264’s Jerome Rivera Wouldn’t Change a Thing

Jerome Rivera UFC
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - AUGUST 04: (R-L) Jerome Rivera punches Luis Rodriguez in their flyweight bout during Dana White's Contender Series season 4 week one at UFC APEX on August 04, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/DWCS LLC/Zuffa LLC)

When Jerome Rivera appeared on the Contender Series, he made a lasting impression on Dana White. A three-round barn burner with Luid Rodriguez got him the UFC contract without question. However, the beginning of his UFC stay has not exactly been as picturesque.

Three fights into his UFC career, in just under 10 months, Rivera finds himself at 0-3. According to Rivera, he achieved his early objective in his first year.

“It definitely hasn’t started off ideally, but it was kind of my mindset when I first got signed to the UFC,” Rivera said. “I want to get as much experience as I can, I want to fight as much as I can.”

As he stated, it wasn’t the results he wanted, but it did give him the experience he wanted. Even with a chance to revise history, he is happy with the decisions he made.

“It definitely sucked, taking those losses,” he said. “But at the end of my career I think I’m going to look back and see those three losses changed me as a fighter and made me a better fighter.”

Rivera feels that each fight he’s had taught him a valuable lesson. He learned to not accept your opponent’s style against Nam. He learned not to be too hesitant against Figueiredo and not to be gun shy in big moments against Osbourne. While the third of those bouts took place on short notice and he realizes that may not have been the right move, he stands by his and his teams decision to take it.

“I shouldn’t have taken that Ode Osbourne fight, to be honest,” Rivera said. “But I believe in myself and if we had to go back and we got offered it to us again, I would take it again for the experience.”

With all of this experience behind him, he looks to UFC 264 and a bout with Zhalgas Zhumagulov. Despite knowing this is likely his last chance to get his first UFC win, he feels great about where he’s at.

“I truly think that we’re going to go on a good run now and I’m excited for the future,” he said. “We’ve got a great gameplan going for [Zhumagulov] physically. I’ve been grinding for weeks now, but the training camp is going great. It really does feel like this is going to, especially having the crowd and everything, it feels like it’s going to be my UFC debut all over again.”

That bout will take place as part of the early prelims for UFC 264. It can be seen on ESPN+.

You can listen to the full audio of this interview at 39:51.