Dustin Green also caught up with UFC 133 main card participant Jorge Rivera as yesterday's UFC 133 open workouts in Philly. Rivera was originally slated to take on Alessio Sakara, but is now facing late-replacement Constantinos Phillippou in a middleweight bout. Sakara was forced to withdraw from the bout due to a torn ACL.
There's lots of notable stuff in this interview, not least of which is footage of Rivera's child-like giddiness and glee when meeting boxing legend Bernard Hopkins. Rivera tells Green he's an enormous fan of Hopkins, as many MMA athletes (particularly strikers) are. That's a reality often overlooked. Even if the communities of MMA and boxing are far apart, the admiration among MMA fighters for boxers and comraderie between the groups indicates a closer pairing than their respective fan bases.
Most interesting to me is Rivera walking back some of his retirement talk. You may recall when I spoke to him he believed that if he lost on Saturday and if losing meant being cut from the UFC, he claimed to have no desire to fight in another organization. Perhaps I caught Rivera on a down day. Perhaps he misspoke when I talked to him. Either way, there is a difference in the message.