Jimmie Rivera is part of an exclusive group under the UFC banner – one that includes only himself, top UFC lightweight contender Khabib Nurmagomedov, and UFC women’s featherweight champion Cris Cyborg.
So, what do the three share in common? They’re the only active members of the UFC roster who have gone 20 or more consecutive MMA fights without a loss.
Although Rivera (21-1 MMA, 5-0 UFC), Nurmagomedov (25-0 MMA, 9-0 UFC) and Cyborg (21-1 MMA, 5-0 UFC) are at different stages of their careers, all are regarded among the best in their respective weight class. Rivera said they’ve got there by sharing one similar trait.
“We work our asses off,” Rivera told MMAjunkie of his commonalities with Nurmagomedov and Cyborg. “I know Khabib’s camp. They work their ass off. Cyborg is just a beast, and there’s no one like her. There’s no one that can take her. I’ve seen her boxing with Clarissa Shields, and she’s a beast. And myself, I think it’s just hard work.”
It sounds simple, but 28-year-old Rivera, who’s No. 5 in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA bantamweight rankings, said his dedication to improving his skill set, paired with an abnormal competitiveness, are what have allowed him to go on such a long winning streak.
“El Terror” fell short in his second MMA fight when he dropped a split decision to Jason McLean in November 2008, but since then, he’s rattled off 20 straight wins. Now Rivera looks to extend his streak even further when he meets Marlon Moraes (20-5-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC) in June’s UFC Fight Night 131 headliner.
Rivera has been pushing for a bantamweight title shot, and he said he should get it “no questions asked” if he can get past former WSOF champ Moraes. He said he expects that to happen because, after coming all this way, Rivera’s not planning to take a loss now.
“I’m going to beat Marlon and get my title shot,” Rivera said. “I work too hard and I don’t like to lose.”
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Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie
Read the full article here: UFC's Jimmie Rivera on what it takes to go 20 fights without a loss