Cody Stamann and Jimmie Rivera are set to throw down in a short notice bout on Fight Island. The two were originally preparing to fight each other in August but will do it on July 15 in Abu Dhabi instead.
Cody Stamann vs. Jimmie Rivera
Stamann (19-2-1 MMA, 5-1-1 UFC) feels he has more paths to victory than Rivera (22-4 MMA, 6-3 UFC).
“Jimmie Rivera. Good boxer, good wrestler. Likes to stay in the pocket and throw down,” Stamann told MMASucka. “I have options: I can fight Jimmie in different ways. I can try to beat him at his own game; wrestle him, box him. Or I can stay on the outside, circle, and kick him. I have options. I’m not sure he does. He has one style of fighting.”
Stamann’s lone UFC loss came to Aljamain Sterling, who many believe will get a crack at the winner of Petr Yan and Jose Aldo for the bantamweight title. “The Spartan” most recently turned away Brian Kelleher and also has wins over Alejandro Perez, Bryan Caraway, Tom Duquesnoy and Terrion Ware. He also went to a draw against Song Yadong, though most had Stamann winning a decision.
Rivera has scored his own big wins over the likes of Urijah Faber, John Dodson and Thomas Almeida. However, after a 20-fight winning streak, Rivera has dropped three of his last four to the likes of Sterling, Yan and Marlon Moraes. Stamann acknowledged Rivera’s strength of schedule.
“Jimmie’s a tough dude,” he said. “He’s really good at what he does.”
The Bantamweight Picture
Stamann enters the bout as the No. 10-ranked bantamweight, with Rivera one spot ahead. Coupled with his June 6 win over Kelleher, Stamann feels defeating Rivera will turn some heads his way.
“I think it almost instantly makes me a contender and threat for the title,” he said. “I just had a big win. I’m going to get another big one on the 15th; an even bigger win. I think that puts you in the conversation. I think people are starting to realize I’m not a dark horse in the division. I’ve been kind of a gatekeeper for all these really tough up-and-coming guys. You fight them off, destroying their careers. That’s not what I came to do. I have to move forward.”
Both Stamann and Rivera offered to fight former UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar after his opponent, Pedro Munhoz, tested positive for the coronavirus. Edgar turned them both down, according to Stamann. With Stamann and Rivera having agreed to fight each other in August, the two moved up the date.
Due to the short notice nature of the contest, it will be held at featherweight; a fact Stamann is happy about.
“Oh shit, I love it,” he said. “You don’t have to cut that extra weight. That’s awesome for me, because I’m a big boy. That’s the other advantage I’m gonna have. I’m going to be a legit 145’er in this fight. Jimmie’s just not as thick as me. I believe when I get in the cage, I’m going to have 10 to 15 pounds on him.”
Fighting in the Age of Coronavirus
Much ado has been made about Fight Island ever since it was rumored. Stamann isn’t buying into the hype, though.
“I’m really not trying to even think about it. I’m not looking at it like fighting at Fight Island. I’m just looking at it like being on a plane for 15 hours, and then I just gotta go to work. I feel pretty indifferent about it. I don’t give it a shit about fighting on Fight Island or the magic of it. This isn’t a vacation for me; this is a business trip.”
Stamann said he’s embarking for Abu Dhabi on Friday night for his bout on Wednesday. The training camp was short, but Stamann felt good about the build-up to both the Rivera fight as well as his win over Kelleher.
The coronavirus has led to smaller groups of training, which means more quality over quantity for Stamann, who built a home gym.
“Honestly, for me, it’s been better,” he said. “Coaches don’t have hundreds of students. More one-on-one time. I think it was kind of reflected in my last performance. COVID has been good to me, I guess.”
Stamann’s only prediction for how the fight ends is that he’ll get his hand raised.
“[Rivera’s] not an easy guy to finish,” he said. “A lot of people drop him, but he’s not an easy guy to put away. I definitely think I’ll put him down, but whether I can get him out of there, I don’t know, but I’m gonna beat him.”
The UFC Fight Island card featuring Cody Stamann vs. Jimmie Rivera goes down Wednesday, July 15. It can be watched live on ESPN and ESPN+.
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