Jimmie Rivera wants to make progress in the bantamweight division after picking up a crucial victory for his career at UFC 228.
Rivera (22-2 MMA, 6-1 UFC) had his 20-fight winning streak snapped with a quick knockout loss to Marlon Moraes at UFC Fight Night 131 in June. Rivera made a quick turnaround to fight at UFC 228 and was able to get the better of John Dodson (20-10 MMA, 9-5 UFC) to take a unanimous decision at American Airlines Center in Dallas.
Although he had the setback a few months ago, Rivera still very much feels he’s a top contender at 135 pounds. He knows the stumble against Moraes put some distance between him and a title shot, but he said a fight against the likes of ex-champs Dominick Cruz (22-2 MMA, 5-1 UFC) and Cody Garbrandt (11-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) would get him back into that spot.
“Obviously my ideal is always to fight T.J. (Dillashaw for the title),” Rivera told reporters, including MMAjunkie, during his UFC 228 post-fight scrum. “I know he might be in the works for a fight, or the Henry (Cejudo) fight might happen. Other than that, Cruz. He said he was hurt last time; he ducked me. Get in there. I beat (Urijah) Faber and I would love to beat someone else from Team Alpha Male. I would love to fight Cody Garbrandt. I just want to keep moving forward.”
Rivera, 29, said his problem in the Moraes fight simply came down to not seeing the fight-ending head kick coming. He showed a lot more composure against Dodson, though, and implemented the gameplan he set out for the fight.
The 15-minute bout wasn’t filled with quite the level of action many had desired from it after a somewhat heated pre-fight build, but Rivera said patience was necessary. And regardless of how it unfolded, Rivera said beating someone of Dodson’s caliber only comes with upside.
“He’s a tough opponent – he has a huge win over the current champ, a knockout over T.J. Dillashaw who is our champ right now,” Rivera said. “To go in there and to beat him, and I believe it was a unanimous decision, it’s a big deal.
“It feels good to be back on the horse, feels good to be back in the win column, and it’s a huge win over John Dodson.”
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Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie
Read the full article here: Jimmie Rivera calls for Dominick Cruz or Cody Garbrandt after UFC 228 win