James Ryan

UFC Veteran Jorge Rivera: Everybody Wants to Be a Champion

“Jorge Rivera doesn't just sing the hits. He shoots on them, gets full mount and pummels them into works of art.”—Ranger Up Presents: Jorge Rivera, Acapella Apocalypse

UFC Veteran, Jorge “El Conquistador” Rivera is currently scheduled to fight against Alessio “Legionarius” Sakara in the co-main event of UFC 122 on Saturday November 13, at Konig Pilsener Arena in Oberhausen, Germany.

This is a middle-weight match-up that you won’t want to miss, as it definitely has all the potential to be the biggest fight of the night.

Please enjoy my interview.

James Ryan: How are you, Jorge?

Jorge Rivera: I’m great man, how are you?

James Ryan: I’m also great.

Thanks for taking the time to speak with me today. I know that you’re only a bit more than a week away from flying out to Germany for your big fight against Alessio Sakara at UFC 122, so I imagine that you must be pretty busy.

So Jorge, are you ready for this? [Laughs]

Jorge Rivera: I’m ready to go whenever you’re ready.

James Ryan: Sweet. So, where are you training out of right now?

Jorge Rivera: Currently, I’m training out of Peter Welch’s F-15 Gym and Tim Burrill Jiu-Jitsu in North Providence. And these guys are the best—hands down, the best in the area.

James Ryan: Cool. As mentioned, you’ll be fighting next weekend at UFC 122 against Alessio Sakara. I noticed that on paper, you both share many surprising similarities.

For example, you’re MMA record is 18-7—Sakara’s is 15-7. You both possess great boxing skills. You’re both riding a three fight win streak, and you both share an identical record of 4-1 in your last five fights.

Jorge Rivera: Pretty cool, huh?

James Ryan: Definitely cool, but I have to wonder—where do these similarities end? What do you feel are the advantages that you have over Sakara coming into this fight?

Jorge Rivera: I think I’m just grittier and I can grind it out better than he can. And I think I hit harder than he does. I think you’re right though—on paper we both match up really well. We both hit hard, and we both like to strike.

Honestly man, I just think that it’s a really good match-up.

James Ryan: That’s awesome. It certainly sounds that way.

You’ve been around the UFC for some time. I’ve watched many of your fights, and you definitely seem to be on the up side of your career, which is pretty amazing for a guy who is 38-years old.

I’m 37 and I honestly really look up to you. You’re in there, you’re banging and you’re doing pretty awesome.

Where are you going to go from here? Where do you think a win puts you in terms of the middleweight division?

Jorge Rivera: Honestly, I just want to keep winning. It is what it is. I’m not gonna look past this gentleman. I just want to fight, focus on him, beat him, and let things take care of themselves.

As long as I keep winning, I’m gonna keep moving up, and eventually I’m gonna get what I want.

Everybody wants to be a champion. I want a shot at the title and then I’ll take it from there. After every fight, I want to assess where I’m at, how I feel about it, and move forward.

I personally think that so long as I keep fighting and keep winning, I will advance. Every win advances you further and further up the chain. Those are my plans—that’s my goal.

James Ryan: Excellent.

By the way, I’m friends with Angel Rafael Cordero Candelaria from Puerto Rico—I think you know him?

Jorge Rivera: Yup—good guy.

James Ryan: For sure. Both of us are writers for Bleacher Report, as well as, El Octagono.

So anyway, I didn’t actually tell him that I was going to be interviewing you today and then earlier on Facebook, I noticed by coincidence that he posted this new video of you singing all of the popular hits from the 80s and early-90s. [Laughs]

Jorge Rivera: [Laughs] How’d you like that?

James Ryan: Oh, I loved it! That video is hilarious. [Laughs] I thought that was really great.

Jorge Rivera: [Laughs]

James Ryan: So what inspired that video? How did you guys even come up with that idea?

Jorge Rivera: Actually, it was my sponsor, Ranger Up. They asked me if I was willing to do it, and I was like ‘sure man, let’s roll with it.’

And those guys—they’re very, very witty—very smart guys. They always have different ideas for me and I just roll with the punches—just having a good time with it.

James Ryan: That’s cool. You definitely did pretty well with it. I mean, it’s a long video. [Laughs] You end up singing a lot of songs. [Laughs]

Jorge Rivera: [Laughs] They cut some of them, they cut some of them! [Laughs] It was like a four hour shoot, where I sang about 100 songs. [Laughs]

James Ryan: [Laughs] How did you know all of the words?

Jorge Rivera: [Laughs] I don’t know man, ya know, to be honest with you, I just love music. I have an eclectic taste in music. I love everything from soft rock to heavy metal, and everything in between. I don’t know—it’s one of those things where we all have a gift for something, and I guess mine is remembering words. [Laughs]

James Ryan: [Laughs] Right on.

I think it’s always cool when I meet a guy who fights for a living, and he doesn’t take himself too seriously. Well done!

James Ryan: Your loss against Terry Martin at UFC 67...that must have been pretty tough considering he broke your jaw in that fight.

Jorge Rivera: Ya.

James Ryan: Then, in your next fight against Kendall Grove at UFC 80, you responded by finishing him off in the first round. I’m curious to know if that loss to Martin was in your head at all, or were you just able to move past it and not think about it?

Jorge Rivera: I’d be lying to you if I told you I wasn’t affected by it. I was very scared to get hit in the jaw again. When I walked into that cage with Kendall—that was definitely in the back of my mind.

But once the fight started and the punches started throwing—me personally—I let it all go. I felt like I just had to get in there and do my job.

This is what I do. If I’m afraid to do what I do, then I have no business being in there anymore. A lot of it becomes psychological. You have to possess the right mentality. You can’t allow it to eat at you. You just gotta forget about it and go out there and do what you gotta do.

James Ryan: So at the time when you broke your jaw, had you contemplated retirement?

Jorge Rivera: Absolutely!

When my jaw was broken, I looked like the elephant man. It was all swollen and disgusting. I had to fly home with a broken jaw. It took two days to finally get it operated on. The pain was excruciating. I was in so much pain, it was ridiculous.

I’ll never forget that.

Terry Martin—thank you very much. You helped me to get things back in-line and re-focused. Mentally—I became stronger.

I went into that fight thinking that I was going to walk right through him. He had a hard time making the weight—I made the weight easily. I was in great shape for that fight. When I say I was in great shape—I was in great shape for that fight.

I hit him with that first low kick. The second one, I was gonna throw it low, but half-way through the kick, I decided that I wanted to throw it high, and it came out like shit. He just grabbed my leg and laid me out.

James Ryan: Yikes.

Jorge Rivera: I remember waking up afterwards, and seeing everybody in the cage—I had no idea that I got knocked out. I was like ‘what are you guys doing in the cage?’ and they were like ‘buddy, the fights over.‘

‘What are you talking about?’ I asked, and the corner-man confirmed that I got knocked out. It was weird. That was the first time that I had ever been knocked unconscious.

James Ryan: Wow, what an experience. Obviously that’s changed you a lot as a fighter.

Jorge Rivera: Definitely.

James Ryan: Dana White still calls Anderson Silva the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world, despite the fact that he was owned by Chael Sonnen for almost five full rounds.

Considering that Silva is the champion of your division and the two of you had previously fought, what is your take on Dana’s claim?

Jorge Rivera: I feel the same way. I still think Silva’s the best in the world—absolutely. The man hasn’t lost a fight in six years. That’s unbelievable.

He fought that fight with Sonnen hurt, he never made any excuses for it, he came out and he did his job, and he still finished the guy who was whooping his ass. You gotta take your hat off to the Champ—the Champ’s the man.

In order to be the man, you’ve got to beat the man and no one has been able to beat him in six years. So it’s hard to argue any other way. He might have an off night here or there, but he’s still the man.

And it’s not like he’s fighting chumps. And he finishes these people. He doesn’t just beat them—he finishes them.

James Ryan: Well when you put it like that, it’s pretty tough to disagree.

Would you like to give any special thanks?

Jorge Rivera: I definitely want to thank Ranger Up, and I would like to thank Alchemist Management and Lex McMahon. Give a big shout out to Lex on my behalf please.

James Ryan: You got it. Thanks very much, Jorge. I appreciate your time. And best of luck next weekend.

Jorge Rivera: I appreciate it. Thank you.

This is my interview. If you don’t like it...I have others. Check them out at www.mrjamesryan.com

Carried Out Fight Gear was founded in 2009 by a group of fighters who realized that the true essence of a Warrior was being lost by some people giving up. The Carried Out mindset of “One Way Out – Carried Out!” signifies that a fighter will never ever surrender and fight to the very end, leaving everything he/she has in the ring, on the mat or in the cage!

One Way Out…Carried Out!!!!!


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