Until last week, rising bantamweight contender Jimmie Rivera expected to take on dangerous veteran Bryan Caraway on the main card of the UFC’s upcoming return to Phoenix. Then, Caraway pulled out of the fight with an injury. Though Ecuador’s Marlon “Chito” Vera was briefly targeted as Caraway’s replacement, Rivera ultimately turned down this last-minute challenge, explaining that, at this juncture of his career, it just didn’t make sense.
“I found out Monday Caraway was out,” Rivera told MMAFighting.com’s Ariel Helwani. “Didn’t find anyone new until Thursday. My coach and I discussed that it wouldn’t be a fair fight for the guy. I’m not bullying some guy who wins some and loses some. I want to fight the best of the best. I trained for Caraway, so either I wait for him to get better or fight someone at the very top of the weight class.”
In keeping with this claim that he’s only interested in fighting the bantamweight division’s very best, Rivera recently took to Twitter to call for a bout with former champion and bantamweight GOAT Dominick Cruz.
— Jimmie Rivera (@JimmieRivera135) January 9, 2017
After dealing MMA trailblazer Urijah Faber the loss that seemed to influence his recent retirement, Rivera explained, he’s now interested in ushering Cruz into a retirement of his own.
Cruz was the UFC bantamweight champion until mere weeks ago, when he was upset by the young Cody Garbrandt. Garbrandt stole the title with a dominant unanimous decision win in one of the biggest upsets of the year 2016. Cruz began the year by rebounding from a long stretch on the injury list by reclaiming the title from TJ Dillashaw, then defending it against Faber.
Rivera, meanwhile, has not lost a fight since his second pro bout. He has gone 4-0 in his first four bouts with UFC, taking out Marcus Brimage, Pedro Munhoz, Iuri Alcantara and most recently, Faber. He’s a fantastic 20-1 overall.
Would you be interested in Jimmie Rivera vs. Dominick Cruz bout? If so, who do you think wins? Sound off, PENN Nation!