For his birthday, mixed martial artist Jimmie “El Terror” Rivera (16-1) received many phone calls, but there was one he will never forget.
On June 29, the UFC called Rivera asking him if he wanted to fight inside the octagon for the upcoming UFC Fight Night 72 fight card.
“I was at my martial arts school,” he said. “I was getting messages from match maker Sean Shelby off of Twitter,” he said on The Roman Show. “My manger later called me and said they had this spot open. I got the call on my birthday June 29.”
Rivera accepted. He became a fill in after Marcus Brimage’s (7-4) opponent dropped from the fight.
Rivera fights Saturday at UFC Fight Pass. The main card airs on Fox Sports 1 starting at 10 a.m.
Hear the interview, below.
The Puerto Rican has had a great record competing for the World Series of Fighting, Bellator and even becoming a competitor for The Ultimate Fighter.
“It’s long overdue,” he said. “I am excited.”
Although the announcement came suddenly, Rivera was prepared.
“I was supposed to fight in September, but I am always training,” he said. “It’s important. I am working everyday. I have a school, where I teach and help people get in shape. I also need to be strong. When I got the call I just bumped up my training.”
Brimage, a former The Ultimate Fighter contestant, was expected to fight Ian Entwistle, but dropped from the fight for an undisclosed reason.
“From The Ultimate Fighter, I learned a lot I didn’t train the right way,” he said. “From there, I learned a lot from my coaches etc. you learn a lot when you don’t have that backing from coaches. Then I had the motivation of getting back to the UFC. I took it a fight at a time.”
The New Jersey fighter started martial arts at a young age as he practiced karate from there he evolved in different areas of combat sports. His only defeat comes from Jason McLean back in 2008.
Meanwhile, Brimage has a 2-3 record in his last five fights with his latest battle coming back in January.
But Rivera isn’t taking Brimage’s record into consideration and respects his foe.
“He is a tough opponent. He looks strong,” he said. “I look forward fighting him.”