by Jeff Cain – MMAWeekly.com
Jorge ‘El Conquistador’ Rivera was scheduled to face off against Mike ‘Quick’ Swick on the UFC January 16th Spike TV card, but an injury three weeks ago forced Swick out and Chris ‘The Crippler’ Leben stepped up to fill in. Jorge spoke with MMAWeekly Radio about the change of opponent and the replacement, Chris Leben.
Injuries in contact sports are a common occurrence. Thankfully for Jorge Rivera, Swick getting injured wasn’t a last minute situation. Rivera typically begins his preparation for bouts eight weeks out, and Leben was named the replacement six weeks before the event. Rivera told MMAWeekly, “I knew the fight was a ways out, the chance of people getting hurt are sometimes 50/50 here. I wasn’t too surprised to see one guy get hurt and another guy coming in…It was so far away, it gives you enough time to adapt to get ready for whatever. It was plenty of time.”
Rivera was questioned about the differences in Mike Swick and Chris Leben, and answered, “I didn’t get to see Mike Swick fight. I didn’t have his tapes yet, but my team was looking it over to be honest with you. I knew he was going to have fast hands. He hasn’t been pushed the distance yet, so his cardio was in question. On the show, it wasn’t sure if his cardio was strong or not, so that was one thing we were looking for to do; just put the pressure him, pushing the fight hard, watch him crumble, and watch him gas. Leben has proven he can go the three rounds already. He did it with [Patrick] Cote.”
When asked who was tougher between Swick and Leben, Rivera replied, “Technically wise, I think that Mike Swick may have an edge, but I don’t know enough about these two cats to compare. I would have to look into their films and pick it apart like that…From what I’ve seen on the TV show and stuff like that, I think Chris is a little tougher. He’s hungrier I guess.”
Analyzing Chris Leben, Rivera commented, “He’s got a good chin. He’s been working with Matt Hume, so I know he’s going to be ready. He’s aggressive. He comes forward. It makes for a pretty good fight because that’s what I want to happen; I want to bang out. If he wants to bang it out, good.”
Jorge further stated, “We match up good. We make up for a good fight…It should be a good fight and the fans should be excited…I want to put on a good fight for the fans. As long as I can do that and win, I’m happy. I want to bang it out. I want people to be f#%king cheering my name. I want a f#%king fight. That’s what I want.”
This match up is simply good match making. Both guys have expressed the desire to keep it standing. Both guys will come to throw leather. Boring will not be a term tagged to this bout. I’d advise you to take a bathroom break, get a drink, and secure your spot with a good view of the broadcast before this one gets started.