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UFC 238: Jimmie Rivera says Sterling loss hurt more than Moraes fight: ‘I beat myself’

Jimmie Rivera can get over the Marlon Moraes loss, but losing to Aljamain Sterling was a tough pill to swallow.

Jimmie Rivera can stomach the way in which he lost to Marlon Moraes, but falling short to Aljamain Sterling leaves a bad taste in his mouth.

The ranked bantamweight contender reflected on fighting his fellow UFC 238 competitors when speaking to Kajan Johnson and Shakiel Mahjouri on Saturday’s Pull No Punches podcast. When asked which loss stung more, Rivera insisted the Sterling fight was more upsetting. “The Sterling fight because Sterling didn’t beat me, at the end of the day I beat myself,” he insisted. “I didn’t show up to fight. That wasn’t me.”

Regarding the Moraes fight, Rivera suggested anyone can get caught at the highest level of the sport. “For everybody watching that fight, it seemed like two-seconds. For me it was 10-15 seconds. I was like ‘body shot, body shot, blocking, blocking. F—k, it’s going to my head and my arm isn’t going hard enough. F—k!’ and he caught me,” Rivera reflected on the head-kick knockout loss. “I learned from that fight.” After the fight, Rivera’s wife informed him that Moraes had caught him with that same kick years ago during a sparring session.

“Sterling was the worst. I didn’t show up to fight. There were so many things I could have done. Even my jiu-jitsu is really good. I work with some great guy,” he said. “I got on top of him a couple times and I didn’t do anything... Myself, my coaches were upset. That wasn’t me.”

Rivera may only be 29-years-old, but he accepts his role as somewhat of a gatekeeper at UFC 238 against surging contender Petr Yan. “I’ve been in this kid’s shows and I was the up-and-coming one,” he said. “I got sidetracked with the Marlon loss and it’s been up-and-down for the past couple fights. I’ve gotten to learn about myself as a fighter and life in general.”

“So many thing have happened in life, personal, with my business and with fighting. Sometimes it’s hard to stay on track. That’s what I did for this camp. I just focused on this camp,” Rivera shared. “I took breaks when I needed to take breaks. I took mental days when I needed to. Petr Yan is a tough SOB and I’m excited for the fight,” he continued. “I’ve watched all his fights and he wants to throw.”

Just because Rivera is looking forward to slinging leather with Yan doesn’t mean he is looking for a war. “I never look for Fight of the Night. I look to get my hand raised however possible,” he chuckled. “If Fight of the Night comes, it comes.”

UFC 238 takes place at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois on Saturday, June 8. Keep up with Bloody Elbow for live event coverage, highlights and results. The event is headlined by a UFC bantamweight title fight between Henry Cejudo and Marlon Moraes. The co-main event boasts a UFC women’s flyweight championship bout between Valentina Shevchenko and Jessica Eye.

Timestamps below for the video above.

1:01 - Beach days
2:08 - “Old Town Road” craze
7:50 - Playing gatekeeper to Petr Yan
11:44 - New bantamweights dumped in the deep end
14:14 - Comparing Marlon Moraes and Aljamain Sterling losses
17:25 - Jimmie doesn’t want Fight of the Night
19:45 - Elias Theodorou’s sudden release
26:02 - Free agency in 2019

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