by Mitch Gobetz – MMAWeekly.com
Jorge Rivera has been missing in action lately. He was last seen in February 2007 for only fourteen seconds in a knockout loss to Terry Martin. Rivera will make his return on Saturday night to the Ultimate Fighting Championship as he will take on the Ultimate Fighter season three winner Kendall Grove. The bout will be a comeback fight for both fighters as they are coming off knockout losses.
MMAWeekly Radio caught up with Rivera to talk about his return to fighting and his current status. As far as conditioning goes, Rivera said, “I’m actually in good shape right now. I feel good.”
Many fans had been wondering where Rivera has been. It turns out, he was quite injured after the short fight with Terry Martin. “He hurt me, broke my jaw. It smashed in half,” Rivera explained. “I had to get screws and plates and wires and everything else to fix it.”
When Rivera healed up, he wanted to fight sooner, but he had a little addition to his family. “I wanted to get a fight earlier, but I just had a baby.”
Even though it’s been almost a year, Rivera is really looking forward to getting back in the Octagon. “I like doing this. I’m really excited. I can’t wait to get back in there and see what’s up. Kendall’s a good opponent so it will let me know where I am right off the bat,” said Rivera.
While he’s excited to get back in there, he’s completely ready and won’t get overcome with emotion. “I think focusing is key. Just concentrating on what you’re doing.”
Kendall Grove is coming off of a loss himself to Patrick Cote and is making his return as well. Rivera isn’t taking that for granted though as he will expect Grove to be at his best. “I can’t speak for him. I know he comes from a good camp. I’m sure he’s focused. I’m ready man and I’ve been training hard.”
It doesn’t hurt that Cote also trains with Rivera and can give him some information on Grove. “Patrick knows how he fights. He gave me some inside tips that will help me get over.”
Grove said in an interview with MMAWeekly that he doesn’t really come into a fight with a game plan. Rivera, however, has a game plan and will do his best to implement it against his 6’6″ foe. “We have a game plan,” said the Massachusetts native. “We have people that can imitate his style of fighting. The guys that I’ve been training with are as big as he is training and are stronger and heavier, so that should help.”
Rivera is no stranger to big fights though as he has fought some of the toughest middleweights in the world including UFC middleweight king, Anderson Silva. Rivera holds wins over tough veterans Travis Lutter and David “The Crow” Loiseau. While he’s fighting a fairly big name in the UFC like Kendall Grove, it doesn’t bother him at all.
“I’ve been a lot of big fights. I like big fights,” explained Rivera. “I like fighting the big names. I like it. When this is over with, I don’t wanna be like ‘I should have done this’.”
This will not be Rivera’s first fight in England either. He’s a Cage Rage veteran and has fought there several times. “I like fighting for the fans over there, but I always keep my family and friends close at heart. That’s who I fight for.”
Rivera is known for his toughness and durability and the fight with Grove has all the potential of being a fast paced, exciting fight. However, Rivera doesn’t think it’s going the difference.
“I think I’m knocking Kendall out,” predicted Rivera. “I really don’t wanna decision. I want to give the fans fight of the night. I just wanna lay it all out there.”