Tomorrow night, in the main event of the UFC’s anticipated stop in Utica, New York, streaking bantamweight contender Jimmie Rivera will attempt to take out former World Series of Fighting champion Marlon Moraes. Though it’s not a certainty just yet, the winner of this fight could become the next man in line for the victor of TJ Dillashaw and Cody Garbrandt’s bantamweight title rematch, which goes down at UFC 227 this August 4.
That, of course, is what Rivera is hoping. In a perfect world, he envisions himself taking out Moraes tomorrow night, and taking on the Dillashaw vs. Garbrandt winner sometime toward the end of the year.
“Anytime this year whether it’s November or the last card of the year, December, any of that time would be great to be honest with you,” Rivera said on the latest episode of BJPENN.COM Radio, speaking of a potential title shot.
Provided Rivera can topple Moraes in Utica, he’d also be willing to step in to replace Dillashaw or Garbrandt at UFC 227, should one of the two sustain an injury before the fight. He’ll be staying read just in case.
“I’m not looking past [Moraes], but if I get the win, there could be a possible step-in because someone’s hurt for the fight in August,” he said. “We’ve actually discussed about staying ready, staying in shape just in case that happens.”
If Dillashaw and Garbrandt’s UFC 227 fight does go ahead as planned, Rivera expects Dillashaw to come out on top — just as he did when they first fought at UFC 217.
“I’m picking TJ that fight,” he said. “I think he’s going to get it done again.”
Jimmie Rivera will enter his UFC Utica headlining showdown with Marlon Moraes on an insane 20-fight win-streak. He boasts one of the most impressive records in MMA today, at 21-1 overall.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 5/31/2018.