Now, Bryan Caraway's injury really means that Jimmie Rivera doesn't have an opponent.
The Caraway-Rivera bantamweight bout was originally scheduled for the UFC Fight Night 103 bill on Jan. 15, headlined by B.J. Penn-Yair Rodriguez in Phoenix. An undisclosed injury took Caraway out of the bout, but it seemed that Rivera would stay on the card against replacement Marlon Vera after accepting him as an opponent.
Not so fast.
MMAJunkie.com confirmed that Rivera was offered a choice of replacement, between Vera and former UFC flyweight title challenger John Dodson. While Rivera did agree to face Vera on the card, “The Terror” then had a change of heart, removing himself from the bill and declining the Vera fight, preferring to wait for a new opponent.
“All I ask, if it’s going to be replacement, give me someone who’s going to benefit me,” Rivera told MMAFighting.com on Monday. “If I fight Vera, it makes me look like a bully and I teach my kids not to be a bully. Plus, he’s got a daughter that he’s trying to make money to get her surgery done. I got a heart man, I can’t stand there and stop that.”
The 27-year-old Rivera has put together an impressive 20-1 pro MMA mark and has gone 4-0 since entering the UFC's 135-pound ranks. After wins over Marcus Brimage, Pedro Munhoz and Iuri Alcantara, the Team Tiger Schulmann product got his breakout win at UFC 203 this past September, where he dominated Urijah Faber for 15 minutes en route to a unanimous decision victory.