Jorge Rivera (top) says Michael Bisping isn’t getting in his head. | Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
Jorge Rivera believes Michael Bisping took the bait.
They square off Feb. 27 on the UFC 127 main card in Sydney, Australia. It’s a matchup Rivera requested, and he admits to talking some trash to make sure he got it.
“Honestly, when we asked for the fight, the people at the UFC were like, ‘He might not take it. His camp might not take it,’” Rivera said recently during a “Savage Dog Show” interview on the Sherdog Radio Network. “I was like, ‘Don’t worry about it. I’ll make sure he’ll take it.’ I knew he was going to bite. He took the fight and then I knew he was going to keep on talking.”
The banter has continued on both sides as the fight approaches. Even though Rivera lacks Bisping’s experience when it comes to smack talk, he appears to be handling himself adequately.
“He’s not getting in my head at all,” Rivera said. “I don’t care what he says, at the end of the day we have to get in there and fight. Whether he says nothing or if he talks all the way to the cage, I could care less. That’s not going to stop me from trying to finish him. I’m having fun with it, to be honest with you.”
Rivera fought for nearly a decade without engaging in the types of exchanges he’s had with Bisping. It’s a calculated change.
“I watch guys like Chael Sonnen, who was basically going through the same thing,” Rivera said. “He was a good fighter not getting the notoriety that he wanted. He starts talking a little bit, and the whole world starts watching. I’m thinking to myself, that’s the one thing that I feel MMA can learn from boxing. We have to be able to get people to want to watch this fight. Nobody wants to watch something more than two people who don’t like each other.”
Rivera’s strategy has paid off so far. His bout with Bisping will be the co-headliner at UFC 127.
“This is how I make my living,” Rivera said. “Yeah, I want to be known. Yeah, I want to have exciting fights. Yeah, I’m going to bring it every single time. I want to be recognized for that. So let me hype it up a little bit and watch me deliver on it.”
The time to deliver is approaching. Despite the prefight chatter, Rivera credits Bisping as a tough opponent with great cardio. A win over a quality middleweight like the Brit would likely be Rivera’s biggest in the UFC, and it would make for a fourth straight victorious performance.
“It’s going to be all gravy,” Rivera said of what a win would do for his career. “I’m looking forward to that.”
Listen to the full interview (beginning at 1:13:44) with Rivera.
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