Since the moment the fight was first mentioned, Jorge Rivera has been taking digs at his opponent Michael Bisping, including a series of YouTube videos making fun of the Brit.
So far Bisping has kept fairly quiet on the matter, but at today’s UFC 127 pre-fight press conference in Sydney, Australia, he took the opportunity to fire back at his rival.
He began by telling the assembled media that Rivera was massively underestimating him, and that he was, “looking forward to making a fool of him,” in the Octagon.
That was just the start though. He then went on to describe the 38 year-old as, “a relic”, and “a throwback” to the early years of the sport – appearing to question how well rounded Rivera really is.
A clearly irritated Bisping also spoke directly to Rivera, mocking his lack of big fights in the UFC by informing him that this was a press conference, and that he shouldn’t get used to it as he will be back fighting in the undercards after their fight.
Rivera stayed quiet throughout much of Bisping’s rant, which prompted the UK fighter to point out that Rivera wasn’t such a good speaker without a script.
A reporter later asked Bisping whether he actually believed that Rivera was using scripts in the video promos he had been posting up recently.
Bisping replied that he certainly hoped not as judging by the quality of the last video Rivera posted up, it was the sort of thing his 9 year-old son would have come up with.
Things died down after that until the two were asked to square off for the cameras at the end of the presser. Bisping again had plenty to say and looked animated as they glared at each other, though unfortunately their mics had been taken off by that stage so it wasn’t possible to hear exactly what was said.
Overall the press conference left everyone in no doubt that Rivera’s pre-fight trash-talking has succeeded in getting inside his opponent’s head. We’ll now have to wait until Saturday night to find out whether that has a positive or negative effect on Bisping’s performance inside the Octagon.