UFC bantamweight contender Jimmie Rivera has given his thoughts on Petr Yan capturing the UFC Bantamweight Championship at UFC 251.
Rivera made a return to winning ways on Wednesday night when he beat Cody Stamann in a short notice featherweight showdown on Fight Island. While the 31-year-old did admit that the win wasn’t his best performance, it did help him break a two-fight losing streak – with one of those defeats coming against the aforementioned Yan at UFC 238 in June 2019.
During the post-fight press conference, Rivera made it clear that there’s something about having Yan as champion that just doesn’t sit right with him.
“It irks me,” Rivera said (via MMA Junkie). “It bothers me. I’m not saying I don’t like that he’s champion. I love it. He did an awesome job against (Jose) Aldo, it’s just I came really close to winning that fight and I learned – I had a hard lesson learned of coasting at the end of the first and second round. I knew I was up in the round, I knew I dominated in the last 30 seconds of each the first and second I coasted, and I didn’t make that same mistake tonight when I fought Cody Stamann. I was in the there fighting the whole time focused, eyes on the prize.”
Nobody can deny that Jimmie Rivera is an elite-level athlete, but given how stacked the division is right now, it doesn’t appear as if he’s going to be contending for the title anytime soon.
Prior to his fight against Stamann, Rivera revealed that there was actually talk of a bout between him and Frankie Edgar at bantamweight before the 145-pound fight with Stamann was officially booked.
“I got a call for a replacement from my manager Monday, and then at the same time, I heard that Frankie’s opponent Pedro dropped out so I put my name in for that, and unfortunately, Frankie said no. So Cody Stamann was the other person, I said, ‘Alright, I’ll take that fight, and they said, ‘Ok, no problem,’ and I said, ‘Perfect.’ It just ended up working out like that,” Rivera said.
“I was going to fight Frankie at 135. I think Cody wanted it at 145, he’s a 135er fighting at 145 so that’s fine with me. That means I just don’t have to cut that much weight,” Rivera said.