To say that Jorge Rivera has slightly gotten under the skin of Michael Bisping prior to their fight at UFC 127 might be like saying Charlie Sheen has had just a couple of issues recently.
The Massachusetts based fighter made a series of videos prior to leaving for Australia, panning Bisping in every way from his fighting style to his interviews to the fact that a lot of fans simply don’t like him. With hundreds of thousands of views on the videos, and everyone talking about them, Rivera has gotten the desired effect.
He got Bisping so riled up he finally lashed out at the UFC 127 pre-fight press conference, and then got in Rivera’s face during their photo op staredown, cursing and throwing threats his way as well.
Rivera kept a quiet demeanor the whole time, but admits the motive behind the videos has paid off.
“I’m not coming into the cage to hug you to death. I’m coming in there to fight you. So I’m going to lay it on the line, you want to take the fight, take the fight. If not, don’t, and he did,” Rivera told MMAWeekly Radio.
“The truth is there’s nothing he’s going to do to me that’s going to shake me or rattle me. Nothing. He’s not going to say anything that’s going to shake me, and I know what I’m going to do, I’m going to fight him. Come the 27th, that’s how I’m going to do it, I’m going to fight him. If he wants to knock me out because I’m talking or whatever, so be it, that’s the business that I’m in.”
While the jabs at Bisping were calculated, Rivera was still having fun with the whole thing, but he’s not going to sit back and somehow admit he was wrong for it. He has an opinion on Bisping and it’s one he’s not afraid to share.
“This is how I view the sport. The sport is a game where you show your heart and you lay it on the line and the fans are going to love you for doing that. That’s why the fans love Anderson Silva, that’s why they love GSP, that’s why they love B.J. Penn, and Matt Hughes, and all these other great champions. All these guys, they lay it on the line,” Rivera said. “And you’ve got this guy running around saying he wants to fight higher competition and he wants to fight a champion. Nobody wants to see a guy running around for five rounds, and not actively engaging in a fight and trying to finish a fight.
“The object of the game is to finish the fight. I think that’s a point that he misses. When you run your mouth for so long that you don’t have anything to back it up… it comes across as arrogance and pompous and you don’t do anything.”
In the initial video Rivera’s sponsors at Ranger-Up put together, they accused Bisping of landing more power punches than anyone in the UFC without knocking an opponent out. Rivera points the finger at Bisping, telling the Brit to prove him wrong when they step in the Octagon on Sunday afternoon in Australia.
“The numbers don’t lie, those are facts. We didn’t make those numbers up, those are facts,” Rivera stated. “The reason those numbers are that way is because he doesn’t commit to the punches. He’s just looking to touch them and run away, touch them and run away. I’m not looking to do that. I’m looking to punch him and keep punching him till he goes down.”
Rivera’s tactics may have worked in a few ways leading into the co-main event of UFC 127. The fight has gained traction with many fans polarized by their love or hate for Bisping, and many eyes are going to be watching the middleweight bout with great interest.
Rivera also knows that he got to Bisping before the fight, which was the goal all along. According to sources, Bisping even attempted to get Matt Phinney, the trainer working with Rivera who portrayed Bisping in the series of videos, banned from attending the weigh-ins.
Rivera had a good laugh when he heard that news.
“He doesn’t control that. I actually found that humorous,” Rivera told MMAWeekly on Thursday. “You ask for my cornerman not to be in the corner for the weigh-ins? See, this is the funny part, he’s trying to say that those videos don’t get to him, yet he doesn’t want the guy who played him in the videos there. Everything he’s doing is a contradiction. We know it’s worked, the campaign on him has worked, now I need to go out there and execute the game plan and put him away.”
Regardless of anything he’s said or done through the lead-up to the fight, Rivera takes Bisping seriously and to think he’s underestimating the former “Ultimate Fighter” winner is a gross misstatement as well.
“I’m training very hard for this fight. I’m not saying he’s a bum. He’s not a bum at all, he’s a tough guy, and he’s fought some tough dudes, I’ll be ready for him,” Rivera commented.
The heated rivalry will finally come to a head in Australia when Rivera and Bisping meet in the co-main event of UFC 127.