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Despite an inauspicious 16-7 record, UFC middleweight Jorge Rivera has fought some of the world's toughest middleweights over his 8-year career, including: Rich Franklin, Anderson Silva, Dennis Hallman, Chris Leben, Terry Martin, Martin Kampmann, Travis Lutter, David Loiseau, and Lee Murray, just to name a few.
Fresh off a split decision win over Nissen Osterneck at last week's UFC Fight Night 18, the 37 year-old Team Sityodtong fighter has been the subject of several recent articles discussing both the waning days of his career, and his dedication to the memory of his daughter Janessa who passed away last summer.
In an interview with MMA Junkie Radio, Rivera revealed he will be undergoing shoulder surgery after the Osterneck fight, and also believes that he has only a few more fights left in him:
"I think this might be my last year," Rivera recently told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio). "I just want to buckle down, push real hard for this one year, and see what I can do."
"My left shoulder, my AC (acromioclavicular) Joint is blown," Rivera said. "Right now I'm going to be out six weeks for the surgery alone, then I'll get back into training and hopefully get a fight soon."
"That's what it's all about to me, to challenge yourself," Rivera said. "What's the point of fighting if you're not going to challenge yourself and go against the best?
"When it's all said and done, I will be able to say something most people can't say: I fought the best of the best."
In a separate interview with the Boston Herald, Rivera commented on dedicating the Osterneck fight to his late daughter, Janessa:
"It was important. I was putting a little bit more pressure on myself because I wanted to win for my family and my daughter," Rivera said. "I spent a lot of time in the gym training and I was thinking about her all the time while I was training. I didn’t want it to be all for nothing."
At just 17 years of age, Janessa Rivera died last August after suffering an unexpected fatal reaction to her birth control medication. Rivera's training partner Kenny Florian also dedicated a fight to Janessa's memory when he defeated Roger Huerta at UFC 87. Jorge had previously discussed her death with the Herald, hoping to educate the public about the potential dangers of such medication:
"I’ve heard from people all across the United States that have had the same thing happen to them," Rivera said. "It makes you realize that this is happening a lot more often than people think. It’s always good to be able to use a media outlet to help somebody else out."
No matter how many more fights "El Conquistador" considers, no one will ever question his dedication to the sport of MMA or his family. Whether or not you think he's ever been a serious contender, Rivera has earned his shot on the big stage and has never backed down from a fight with some of the world's top 185'ers.