Jimmie Rivera picked up the biggest win of his mixed martial arts (MMA) career this past weekend (Sat., Sept. 10, 2016) at UFC 203, dominating Urijah Faber to earn a unanimous decision to put his win streak up to 19 (recap here).
However, in the third and final round of their bantamweight scrap, "El Terror" suffered a major eye poke courtesy of "The California Kid," one that severely impaired his vision for the remainder of the fight. Still, Rivera says he never thought about quitting, and gutted it out despite having limited vision.
Speaking to The MMA Hour earlier today, Rivera says he doesn’t know the full extent of his injury, but it could need stitches to repair, if not more.
"The eye is bothering me. I have blurred vision, like a line and a dot in my eye right now and I can’t really see well," said Jimmie. "I have to wear a patch and can’t put light on it until it heals or see the doctor."
"Right now there is a scratch that could need stitches that is in my right part of my eye. And then they said that my retina is not detached but that there is a really bad crack or bruise behind the retina."
When asked if he thought the poke was intentional, Rivera said he’s not too sure; however, he suspects Faber may have been trying to fight dirty as he previously kicked him in his "nuts" and didn’t apologize.
"I don’t know, I think it was a little bit. I mean he hit me in the nuts, then he hit me again, grazed me and he didn’t really say sorry afterwards. If you hit somebody in the balls, you say ‘My bad.’ He didn’t say anything, so I don’t know if it was or wasn’t (intentional). It was a little suspect," declared "El Terror."
In December of 2014, Fransisco Rivera was also on the wrong-end of a devastating eye poke from Faber, who immediately sunk in a fight-ending submission to earn the victory.
Going into the bout, Rivera didn’t hide the fact that he admired Faber growing up as a kid and admits that he was starstruck early on, despite the fact he tried his best to keep his cool in front of the longtime veteran.
"I don’t care at this point becasue I got the 'W.' I got a win over somebody that I grew up watching him as a teenager, a kid. I told myself I wasn’t going to get starstruck, but in the first round, I did feel a little starstuck like, ‘Wow, I’m fighting Urijah Faber right now. This is crazy," said the 135-pound contender.
Now, Rivera will have to wait and see how long he’ll have to ride the pine after picking up a huge victory in "The Land."
Hopefully he won’t have to sit too long, as he will undoubtedly crack the top 10, which means the big-name opponents will continue to line up. And his Spidey sense tell him UFC officials will likely match him up against T.J. Dillashaw in the very near future.
We'll take it.