Recently it was reported that Garbrandt has been tapped for an immediate rematch with Dillashaw, which will take place on August 4th at UFC 227. The news surprised some, since Garbrandt was stopped by Dillashaw in the second round last November, and hasn’t fought since.
One man who’s been knocking on the title shot door is Rivera, who has gone 5-0 in the UFC to date, and is ranked #4. The rising bantamweight is scheduled to face former WSOF champ, Marlon Moraes, at UFC Fight Night 131 on June 1st. Well, recently Rivera spoke with Submission Radio, in advance of that bout. While discussing the fight, and what’s on the line, Rivera said this:
“At the end of the day, this fight ends up being the number one contender fight, and I get to fight whoever wins on August 4th. I think that’s the way it should play out, and I don’t know how the UFC’s going to play it out though. I’m going to have to kind of wait, I guess I want to say, cross my fingers; going to have to make a statement on the first of June, and just kind of go from there.”
“I know Cody was saying ‘oh, we’ll do another fight with TJ, or Cruz, and I’m like, I just think he’s trying to duck me. I’ve sent plenty of stuff on social media and he won’t even say one thing back. So I just think he doesn’t want a hard fight. He wants an easy fight. He wants people that he thinks he can beat, or that he knows he can beat. Not guys that he doesn’t think he could beat.”
Now, it will be interesting to see if Garbrandt responds to these comments. Is “No Love” ducking Rivera as the latter says? Anything’s possible, sure.
But, Garbrandt supporters would probably argue that fights with Cruz or Dillashaw would provide a bigger payday. Certainly, if Garbrandt defeats Dillashaw in their rematch, then a rubber match makes a lot of sense. A third bout in those circumstances would almost certainly be huge.
Would a second fight with Cruz, however, be bigger than a showdown with Rivera? That’s more debatable. Garbrandt holds a win over Cruz, and the legendary bantamweight hasn’t fought since. So, if Rivera goes out and scores an impressive win over Moraes, then there could be more buzz for “El Terror” to get a title shot.
UFC FN 131 will take place in Atlantic City, New Jersey.