Saturday March 12, 2016— The UFC is widely known as the top MMA industry in the world, and being the top industry your roster is full of the best talent in the world. One of their top divisions is the bantamweight division, the division is full of great talents and even legends of the sport such as the current champion Dominick Cruz, former champions such as TJ Dillashaw, Renan Barao, and even Urijah Faber. The division is also full of young and upcoming top talent such as Aljamain Sterling and Jimmie Rivera. Jimmie Rivera in some eyes might be seen as a top 15 bantamweight but to anyone who knows MMA like I do knows that El Terror is the future of the division and a future champion. Rivera is a hometown boy from Passaic New Jersey who works harder than any other fighter I have ever talked to. Rivera began his dream when he was just a kid and worked his ass off all the way to the big stage. From the center of training to teaching the young. From in and outside the octagon there is more than just the fighter you see on TV. #11 ranked bantamweight Jimmie “El Terror” Rivera sits down with FightBookMMA and tells us everything we need to know.
The dream for a young Jimmie Rivera began back when he was 7 years old at Tiger Schulmann’s MMA were he started training for what would be his successful future career. After training for years at Schulmann’s, Jimmie decided to take his abilities to the next level and try to turn pro. At age 18 he decided to go professional and in 2008 he started fighting for Ring of Combat, while fighting for Ring of Combat Rivera decided to fight at catch weight really looking for any fight he can get. In his first fight he got the finish he was looking for as he won by unanimous decision, but the 2nd fight didn’t go as planned as he took a tough lost by split decision. After his first two professional fights Rivera learned that fighting at catch weight wasn’t for him and that cutting weight would be more suitable for him. After that lost Rivera changed things up in more ways than one as that was his last and only lost in his career. His next fight he completely turned things around by earning a rear naked choke submission finish. After that win Jimmie went and signed a one fight deal with Bellator MMA, the one fight deal turned into two fights that Rivera won by submission and decision. After finishing in Bellator and returning to Ring of Combat Jimmie started to bounce around with a brief stint in The King of The Cage, a couple of fights in CFFC, World Series of Fighting, and even another short return back to Bellator. Rivera kept piling up the wins and gaining as much experience as he could but Rivera had one goal and that was to fight in the UFC. After finishing in CFFC, Jimmie started to really focus on teaching back at Tiger Schulmann’s gym and as much as he loves fighting one of his passions after fighting is to be a teacher.
While teaching on his birthday Jimmie got the phone call he had waited for, it was Sean Shelby from the UFC asking Jimmie if he would be ready for a fight in Scotland 3 weeks from now and without any doubt Rivera said yes and began to train for his big UFC debut. His first UFC fight was against Marcus Brimage, and there was no doubt the El Terror was going to make a statement and that’s what he did as he finished Brimage in the 1st round by KO. Feeling on top of the world from his first fight Rivera got his next fight at UFC Fight Night Brazil Henderson vs. Belfort, his opponent was Brazils own Pedro Munhoz. After a hard-fought battle that he stated to me was his hardest fight he had fought to date, Rivera earned the split decision victory. Now at this point Jimmie is 2-0 in the UFC and has won 17 fights in a row. With such success early in is UFC career, Rivera was set up with another big fight on national TV in front of his home crowd of New Jersey. His opponent Luri Alcantara, Rivera stated:
“Fighting in front of my friends and family was a dream come true and being able to go out and win in front of them was special”.
I’m convinced where ever Rivera fights he always finds success, having a record of 19-1 including a 3-0 record in the UFC, El Terror has earned himself a #11 ranking spot in the top 15. Rivera has just signed a new deal with the UFC and a new fight should be announced soon, and there is no doubt that in our eyes that a fight against a top 10 opponent should get him even closer to a future title shot. I asked Jimmie who he wanted next and he said:
“Ultimately, I want whoever has the title but a top 10 opponent would be nice”.
I asked him a little about some of his fellow bantamweights such as #5 ranked Aljamain Sterling he said:
“He keeps dodging me I’ve tried to fight him before but he doesn’t want it but if either one of us becomes champ were going to face each other eventually”.
At the end of the day there is fire in this fighter’s eyes and I truly believe one day he will become champion.
Outside of the octagon Jimmie Rivera is a family man who loves spending time with his family any chance he gets, while training he makes time for them every Saturday or Sunday. Being his biggest supporters, family dinners are a must, and everyone who saw UFC Embedded back in January knows his family can cook that looked like some good eaten. Jimmie has a great gig going outside of fighting and that is running his own Tiger Schulmann’s MMA gym, he teaches kids 4 and up the sport that he loves. Anyone who takes time to give back to the kids is always something special and to have it be your job that you love to do is just another plus. Jimmie said “I love to teach that is my passion”. Jimmie worked his way to assistant instructor to assistant manager all the way to owning his own gym, hard work pays off always if you just put in the time. I asked Jimmie how he gets ready for fights, an inside look into his training camp. When preparing for a fight weight cut isn’t a problem he stays around 135 outside of camp so when it comes close to fight time weight isn’t an issue. He stays away from big time weight training just working in push-ups, sit ups, squats, pull ups any workout that works out your whole body. Every fighter is different on how they prepare for fights some hit weights big some focus on body workouts. Jimmie gets in all of his classes to stay fully prepared for fights such as kickboxing, striking, wrestling and another thing that he does to prepare for fighters is watching film. I’ve interviewed many fighters and a lot say they don’t watch film but Jimmie and his coaches watch film to make sure they are always 100% ready for their opponent.
Being ready for your opponent every time is always key and covering all levels of preparation gets you a 19-1 record that Rivera has, so to any fighter out there that is trying to make their way to the top should check out Jimmie Rivera and Tiger Schulmann’s MMA for the right way to win. When Jimmie isn’t training or spending time with his family he is just living the life of a normal 26-year-old, He makes sure that there is always time for friends and his girlfriend. Whenever he is in camp he will be the DD for his friends and outside of camp he will have a few drinks himself. It’s always key to be able to escape from the MMA world, and having a great set of friends and a lovely family like Jimmies will lead to a lot of success.
Jimmie “El Terror” Rivera is 19-1 and on the biggest winning streak of his career. This upcoming bantamweight who works just as hard as any champion out there will one day be champion. There is no doubt in my mind that this young man will be successful inside and outside of the octagon. If you ever in the Ramsey New Jersey area and looking to learn the Art of MMA stop by to one of the most respected gym in all of MMA Tiger Schulmann’s and see how some of the best in the game do work.
By: Rick San Bartolome
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