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Jimmie Rivera plans to retire by age 35: ‘I never thought I’d get this far’

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Jimmie Rivera never imagined he would have such a high-level of success in mixed martial arts, but he plans to reach even higher in the last big push of his career.

Jimmie Rivera has a firm timetable for his mixed martial arts career, but he still has more to give.

Rivera spoke with Bloody Elbow prior to pulling out of UFC 247 with an injury. The eighth-ranked UFC bantamweight had his first professional fight at 19 years old. That journey has taken him to important fights with Urijah Faber, Petr Yan and Aljamain Sterling. While reflecting on his impressive career, Rivera revealed a timeline for his retirement.

“I knew I always wanted to take it as far as I could, I never thought I’d get this far. There is a lot I still have left. The plan is to fight till 34 or 35. I still have a couple of years to go,” said Rivera, 30. “It’s really more of a mental aspect than anything to see who you really are as a person. What you can really do.”

Rivera is coming off a unanimous decision loss to Yan at UFC 238. That loss was punctuated by multiple knockdowns “El Terror” suffered in the latter moments of two rounds. Rivera, and some others — including his scheduled opponent Marlon Vera — believed Rivera was en route to winning each of the rounds before getting knocked down. To that end, Rivera said he walked away from the Yan fight with a measure of confidence.

“Yeah, I think so,” Rivera agreed. “Yan is a tough S.O.B. and I think if I ever had the chance to take a rematch with him I wouldn’t turn it down. It’s kind of interesting to see what happens with the division because supposedly Aldo and Henry Cejudo are going to fight maybe (in) May.”

“I’m very interested to see where that leaves Cody Sandhagen and Petr Yan and if Sandhagen and Yan are going to fight,” he added. “I’m not sure where the divisions going right now, I’m just happy it’s moving.”

Rivera (22-4) was scheduled to fight Vera (15-5-1) at UFC 247 before pulling out with an injury. The event is headlined by a light-heavyweight title fight between Jon Jones and Dominick Reyes.