On June 1, in the main event of the UFC’s stop in Utica, NY, Jimmie Rivera will fight former WSOF champ Marlon Moraes. For a time, however, Rivera was asking for a different fight: a showdown with former champion Cody Garbrandt.
In the end, of course, Rivera didn’t get his desired scrap with Garbrandt. In his opinion, that’s because Garbrandt is ducking him.
“I know Cody was saying, ‘oh, maybe we’ll do another fight with TJ or fight Cruz.’ I just think he’s trying to duck me,” Rivera told Submission Radio (transcribed by MMAMania). “I’ve sent plenty of stuff on social media and he won’t say one thing back. So, I just think he doesn’t want a hard fight, he wants an easy fight. He wants people that he thinks he can beat or that he knows he could beat, not guys that he doesn’t think he could beat.”
These comments echo statements made by Rivera on a recent episode of BJ Penn Radio.
“I think at the end of the day, Marlon’s manager [Ali Abdelaziz] is really not protecting Marlon,” he said. “He’s just protecting his golden boy which is Cody. So, I think Ali is just protecting his golden boy Cody, because he knows if I get to him, I’m gonna whoop his ass. So I think at the end of the day, you know, they just throw people around to try and derail me. And I like it. And I’m just gonna fuckin’ keep training harder to go in there and fuckin’ whoop some ass.”
Shortly after Jimmie Rivera battles Marlon Moraes in Utica, Cody Garbrandt will collide with reigning bantamweight champ TJ Dillashaw, the man he lost the title to. The bout goes down on August 4 in LA. Depending on the outcomes of their upcoming fights, Rivera and Garbrandt could easily meet sometime thereafter.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 4/13/2018.