This Saturday at UFC Phoenix, one key bout to keep an eye on is a bantamweight contest between Jimmie Rivera and Aljamain Sterling. This is a fight that has been years in the making according to Sterling, who will look to back up his talk with actions in the Talking Stick Arena in Phoenix, Arizona:
“We’ve been chirping at each other for six years now, it’s been a long rivalry of words and here we are,” Sterling told UFC.com.
Aljamain Sterling would then go on to state that he has noticed a difference from the Jimmie Rivera whom he was engaged in trash talking with in the past to a new Jimmie Rivera who is devoid of the same confidence he once boasted. And Sterling believes he has pinpointed the reason behind the change:
“But I feel like his tune has kind of changed a bit ever since his loss to Marlon (Moraes),” Sterling said. “I think he’s been a lot more humble in his interviews and isn’t so much ‘I’m the best guy in this division because I’m on this 20-fight win streak and everyone they put in front of me, I beat.’ I’m still trying to figure out where he’s at mentally, and listening to his interviews, it’s hard to tell where his confidence is. He doesn’t seem like he’s the old Rivera that I remember: young, cocky and doing that peacocking around.”
Meanwhile, Aljamain Sterling is the same as he’s ever been according to The Funkmaster. He, too, holds a first-round knockout loss to Marlon Moraes, but he remains unafraid and unabashed at talking the talk. Because even if he stumbles, his belief in himself and his ability to walk the walk remains steady:
“I was brash, I talked s**t, but I would say funny stuff,” Sterling said. “It wasn’t to attack guys or belittle opponents, but I would try to get some type of action going with the war of words between myself and my opponent, just to put a little more steak on the table for someone to eat their words.
“Not a lot of fighters are willing to do that. They’re not willing to talk because they don’t want to be the guy that loses and then having people tell them they never should have talked all that s**t. Me, I really don’t care. If anything, it actually makes me want to work harder because I want to prove that I’m gonna be the victor on that night.”
Whom do you believe will emerge victorious between Aljamain Sterling and Jimmie Rivera at UFC Phoenix?