Jimmie Rivera has done everything to earn himself the biggest fights at bantamweight and UFC clearly agreed. He was matched up against former champion Dominick Cruz, but Cruz had to end up pulling out due to a broken arm. Just like that, Rivera loses out on the biggest fight in his career. He’s since called out TJ Dillashaw to replace Cruz to stay on the UFC 219 card, but John Lineker has a different plan.
“I would fight with Jimmie Rivera. I’m at the UFC’s disposal to fight him. I’m ready. I want to fight again, and it’ll definitely be a different fight from my last performance against Marlon Vera. I’ll be more in the rhythm and John Lineker will fight as he always has: aggressively. All the time, I am ready. […] I think I’m not far from a title fight and a rematch with [TJ Dillashaw]. I think that my victory over Marlon Vera has put me back into the mix, and I believe that another one or two wins and I’m in talks again to fight the champion.”
— Streetfight Bancho (@streetfitebanch) July 9, 2017
“If I were to fight TJ Dillashaw again I’d put a different pace and rhythm on him. I wouldn’t wait that long for him [to engage first]. He would act first. I believe that if I acted first [instead], I’d be able to time his takedowns and his kicks. I ended up waiting for him a little bit [at UFC 207]. I think that was because I had fought a lot that year and I ended up feeling a bit too tense. But sure enough, if I could do it again, I’d enforce my own rhythm on him more to time his kicks and his takedowns.” — John Lineker speaking to FloCombat.
John Lineker believes he’s one fight away from a title shot, especially if he takes out Jimmie Rivera, which certainly makes sense. Rivera is on an insane 20-fight win streak and hasn’t loss since 2008. No word yet on a replacement for Rivera or if he will even stay on the card, but the UFC definitely needs to keep everyone they can on what is supposed to be a huge, year-end fight card.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 11/16/2017.