Your birthday is a day where you wake up happier than usual because you know it is your birthday. It is your day, the day you were born, and a day for people to give you attention. It seemed that for Jimmie Rivera, his family and friends were not the only ones giving him attention.

“It was June 29, which is my birthday,” Rivera told The MMA Corner. “I was ready to teach class at 6:30. My uncle was there taking class because my family trains too. It was towards the end of class, I was getting messages from Sean Shelby, and then my mangers called me up. They asked if I was ready for the UFC on July 18. Of course I said I was ready. At the end of the class, my aunt, uncle, my niece, and my mom came in to surprise me for my birthday with birthday cake, but I got to surprise them with the UFC news. It was a great birthday present. It was awesome and an unbelievable feeling. I was so excited.”

It is not everyday that you get the UFC call on your birthday, but for Rivera, it was just that. Jimmie Rivera was more than deserving of the call, as he has a career record of 17-1, and won his last fight by KO in sixteen seconds at CFFC 48 before the UFC call.

Fans of Rivera were surprised the call did not come sooner, but for the fans who watched UFC Fight Night 72 and did not know who Rivera was; they were surprised they did not know who Rivera was after he announced himself in a big way.

Rivera shined in his UFC debut and surprised many by earning a knockout victory over Marcus Brimage early in the first round. Rivera talked about his UFC debut KO victory over Marcus Brimage.

“It was unbelievable,” said Rivera. “I had to say thanks to God for everything. It was just an unbelievable feeling. Going in, my UFC debut, and no offense to Brimage, but to go in there and knock him out; it was unbelievable. There are no words that can really put it together. It was just freaking great. It was phenomenal.”

Rivera’s KO victory over Marcus Brimage was his third KO/TKO victory in a row, which is something different for Rivera. Rivera has seventeen career victories and of those seventeen, eleven of them are by way of decision. Before his three KO/TKO victories, Rivera only had one KO, and it was in 2010. Rivera talked about his newly acquired knockout power.

“I wanted to get into the UFC,” Rivera said. “My coach spoke to Sean Shelby, the UFC matchmaker, and he said they [the UFC] wanted to see some finishes. I said, ‘Okay!’ I really have to thank Sean Shelby and my coaches for the motivation. We started training harder for the finishes and working on my power. Working my power on my punches and working my kicks. I have really been working to finish fights, and with that said, hard work pays off. You can tell the hard work has paid off and it has been an unbelievable feeling.”

After Rivera’s coming out party at UFC Fight Night 72, many are wondering what is next for him. Rivera talked about whom he would like to fight next or if he would like to call anyone out.

“Listen, I do not call anybody out,” said Rivera. “I do all the talking in the ring. I do not do the talking outside the ring. I am a professional outside and I talk all the smack with my hands inside.”

Rivera definitely does his talking inside the ring, with his impressive career record, but with only one UFC fight; many are wondering where Rivera will find himself in the bantamweight division. Rivera talked about where he see’s himself in the bantamweight division.

“Honestly, I hope to be in the top five within a year or two,” explained Rivera. “Hopefully in the next year or two, the top five, or even the top contender is where I want to be. Like I said though, I got to put the work in and train. After the fight on Saturday, I relaxed with my family and relaxed with my coach a little bit. Sunday, that was a traveling day. Monday morning, I was back in the gym working out again. I have been at the gym everyday this week. I do not miss training. I am always in there working.”

With a mentality like that, I asked Rivera what his end goal in the sport was.

Rivera said, “My end goal is the gold. I want that belt. That is my end goal. That is the goal I have in my head and I am working for it.”

After his impressive KO finish at UFC Fight Night 72, his UFC debut, Rivera could be on his way to becoming the next bantamweight star for the UFC.

About The Author

Jeremy Klump
Interview Coordinator / Video Manager

Jeremy Klump is a Sport Media major at Ithaca College and has been writing about Mixed Martial Arts for over a year now. He interned at MVC Sports Management and AMA Fight Club. While interning at MVC and AMA, Jeremy found out that he had a true passion for writing about Mixed Martial Arts. He has interviewed and wrote articles on top UFC fighters while also having knowledge of regional fighters and the top new comers. He looks to grow as a writer and expand his knowledge of Mixed Martial Arts while being a proud member of The MMA Corner team.