The revolving door policy that the UFC adopts is a great thing for fighters that may not have had the best run their first time around. We've seen many fighters get a pink slip, go out and get some good wins under their belt, and be brought back into the fold again. The most recent to date is Francisco Rivera. After two tough losses between the WEC and UFC, Rivera collected himself, went to the Tachi Palace Fighting organization, and got two smashing knockout victories.
Now, on only two weeks notice, the young bantamweight will once again enter the octagon against Team Hurricane Awesome member, Alex Soto, at UFC On Fuel TV 3. In a recent TapouT Radio interview, Cisco discussed his upcoming bout and being back in the big show.
*Note: Interviewer is either my co-host, Evan Shoman of TapouT Radio, or myself. When I don't conduct these interviews by myself, I just put "Interviewer" to eliminate having to bounce back and forth between three different names.
Interviewer: How does it feel to have finally gotten the big callback?
Cisco Rivera: I got the callback two weeks ago. I'm replacing somebody that got hurt, and fighting against Alex Soto. It's only two weeks notice, but it's fine because I was already training for a title fight over at Tachi Palace that was supposed to take place today. It's perfect timing, and I'm ready.
My manager, Jason House, he works a lot with the Tachi guys, and they're the guys that the UFC gets some of there fighters from. He knew that Joe Silva and Sean Shelby would be watching, so he made sure to put me on the best cards to get me back in the UFC.
I fought two impressive guys with great records, who had never been knocked out. They had great records. One was 15-3 and the other was 10-1. I took those fights, and thank God they went my way, and now I'm back in the UFC.
Interviewer: How do you feel you match up with Soto?
Cisco Rivera: It's a perfect match-up. I know he's going to come out and try to put on an impressive show. Michael McDonald knocked him out in his last fight, and I believe my hands are way better than Michael's. I have way more power than him. It's going to be a great fight. It's a big fight for him, because if he loses, I'm sure he's going to get released. It's my first fight back, so I have to put on a show, too. I want to impress the UFC, and let them know that it was a mistake to let me go the first time.
Interviewer: Do you feel like all the pressure is on him or on you?
Cisco Rivera: I would think it was more on him, because he just fought and lost. I feel a little pressure, but I'm confident. I've been training already, and I'm on a two fight win streak. I'm injury free, and I'm ready. We're probably going to be the second fight on the card, so there won't be a big crowd. I'm not looking to go in there and take it to a decision, or just lay on top of him. I'm trying to knock this guy out.
Interviewer: Did you have to make any changes in your training, since your opponent changed, or is it just business as usual?
Cisco Rivera: I really didn't change anything. I kept everything the same. I did cut down the rounds, because I was supposed to be fighting a five round title fight, so instead of training nine or ten rounds, I've cut it back to six or seven, to lighten it up and not put too much wear and tear on my body. I'm already at weight, and I'm feeling good. I couldn't have asked for better timing for a short notice fight.
Interviewer: Where do you feel you have the clear advantage over Soto?
Cisco Rivera: I feel like my hands are what's going to take me far in the UFC. He's going to come out and try to bang a little bit, but once he feels my power, he's going to panic, and then I'll just finish him off. There's no way that he's going to be able to take my punches.
I've been working on my wrestling, just in case it goes to the ground, and my scrambling is great. If he takes me down, I'm going to be able to get right back up and finish him off.
Interviewer: So many fighters go in with expectations of winning "of the night" bonuses, and put added pressure on themselves to get them. How do you look at the fight bonuses?
Cisco Rivera: I'm sure everybody in the UFC wants a bonus. That would help my family out, because everybody is struggling, and that's a big plus, but you know, first things first. I've got to get that win. I'm just looking to get that win. It's all that matters. If I want to keep making money and have more opportunities, I've got to win. I'm just going to go out there and do what I do, and let my hands go. If it happen, it happens, but if it doesn't, then on to the next event.
Interviewer: With the flyweight division being so fresh, have you ever thought of trying to make the cut to 125?
Cisco Rivera: Yeah, I thought about it, but 135 kills me already. I don't know if I can do 125. We'll see what happens. If I'm still strong and powerful at 135, and I'm still knocking guys out, then this is where I'll stay.
Follow Cisco via his Twitter, @CiscoRiveraUFC