Jorge Rivera: I got under Michael Bisping’s skin (Exclusive Interview)

UFC Middleweight contender Jorge “El Conquistador” will look to extend his three-fight winning streak at UFC 127, facing Michael Bisping at the main event attraction of the night. Thirt-eight years old Rivera was originally scheduled to face Alessio Sakara at UFC 122 in Germany, but the fight was canceled only hours before its start due to Sakara suffering from a severe flu symptoms.

Rivera holds an overall MMA record of 18-7, finishing 13 of his fights via a knockout. Rivera’s last bout was against Nate Quarry on March 31st of 2010, which El Conquistador won via a Technical Knockout in Round 2.

Here’s what Jorge Rivera had to say about the upcoming fight against Michael Bisping, in an exclusive interview to

Hello, Jorge. Your next fight is against Michael Bisping on  February 27th, how are your preparations going for this one?
My preparations are going good, and I’m about to hit the GYM as we speak. What happened in Germany didn’t affect me in any way. My job is to concentrate on what next, and to get myself ready for the next bout. Michael Bisping is the only thing in my head.

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You announced the fight against Bisping right after the bout against Sakara was cancelled. Bisping reacted saying that he would prefer to fight an opponent of higher caliber, like Nate Marquardt for instance. Why do you think he said that?
I have no idea, that’s what you have to ask him. He can say whatever he wants. At the end of the day this fight was put together, and I think I can beat him. We gonna find about it pretty soon.

In your opinion, what’s the main difference between preparing for Alessio Sakara and Michael Bisping?
Alessio Sakara is a fighter who’s coming forward. He’s constantly looking to pressure you and finish the fight. He also has better hands than Michael Bisping.  Sakara is also a Brown Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. I’ll give Bisping an overall edge in takedowns, but I still think Sakara is a more complete Mixed Martial Artist. We gonna find out soon.

Michael Bisping recently said some pretty harsh things about you. He called you a “dork”, said that you can’t read and that he would expect more maturity from someone who’s 38 years old. Do you think you got under his skin for this fight?
My friend, let me ask you, do you think I got under his skin?

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I think you did.
I think so too.

Do you think it will play some sort of factor in this fight?
Every fight is personal. I love when people say “nothing is personal”. We are going to punch each other in the face, and you can be damn sure it’s going to be personal real quick. You gotta do what you gotta do to get over, and that’s it. I’m not worried about anything.  It’s all fun right now before the fight, but when we get there – it will be strictly business.

The fight will take place in Australia, and if I’m correct, it will be your first time fighting so far away from home.

Well, I fought a lot in England. Traveled to Japan and Korea, so I know what time differences are. I’ll go there to get acclimated, and I’m completely sure everything will be fine.

I don’t want to ask you about a possible gameplan, because I think it’s pretty obvious you’ll be looking for a knockout. But in your opinion, what will be your main advantage over Michael Bisping in this fight?
I think I have better hands than him, and I hit harder. I’ll be looking to keep this on the feet, and hit him hard. Honestly, I’m just looking to get inside the cage and fight him. The fun time will be over pretty soon, and we’ll get it on in Australia. I think it’s the most important fight of my career, and I’m ready to get it on.

How do you sum up your plans for 2011?

I would like to have at least 2 or 3 fights this year, and get myself in the mix for the title shot.

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Alright, Jorge. I really enjoyed speaking to you. Would you like to mention any sponsors before we finish?
Yeah, great. I would like to thank, Everyone at Alchemist Management: MC Hammer, Lex McMahon, Jeff Aronson, Kelly Crigger and many others. Tim Burrill Jiu-Jitsu, Peter Welch’s F-15, Florian Brothers. Everyone who contributed for my career, thank you so much.