Rivera on mission to mock rival

JOSE RODRIGUEZ, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:43 PM ET

Most fighters will admit preparing for a scrap is as much a mental task as a physical one.

Jorge “El Conquistador” Rivera seems to have dug extra deep to get inside opponent Michael “The Count” Bisping’s head.

The Massachusetts brawler has been on a mission to embarrass and mock his British rival since their fight was set late last year.

When the scrap was announced, Bisping said he’d hoped to be fighting a bigger name than Rivera — something Rivera has run with since that day.

At every opportunity, the 39-year-old has taken not-so-subtle digs at his adversary, with his YouTube mock interview perhaps drawing the most chuckles.

As a non-sensically rambling actor pretends to play Bisping, a calm Rivera gives his thoughts on the man he will face in the co-main event of UFC 127 this weekend.

“People say that I don’t have respect for Michael Bisping. Well, that’s just not true,” Rivera tells the camera.

“I have a respect for all of his professional jobs. Postman, D.J. and professional decision-winner.”

The latter, a not-so-veiled shot at Bisping’s inability to finish his last three fights — winning two and dropping one to PRIDE legend Wanderlei “The Axe Murderer” Silva.

Bisping — who has as many fans who boo him as cheer him — is mocked for his often arrogant demeanor.

“If you watch enough video of Michael Bisping, you hear the same thing over and over again,” explains Rivera.

“That he’s misunderstood. And that might be true. Just like Hitler, Pol Pot, Mussolini, Stalin, Nero, Caligula and, umm, David Hasselhoff.”

Usually not one to sit back and take a verbal lashing, Bisping has been surprisingly reserved in his reaction.

“I haven’t felt the need to fire back with insults, as I feel my punches and kicks will do more than enough damage this weekend,” Bisping wrote on his blog.

“There is nothing to fear with Rivera and he has failed miserably at getting under my skin. No matter how many YouTube videos the guy makes, it’s impossible to be intimidated by someone like Jorge Rivera.”

Rivera is coming off three straight victories — two by knockout.

And Bisping, who is 20-3 as a pro, says that may have Rivera thinking he’s a better fighter than his 19-7 record would show.

“I’m excited to now be given the chance to shut Rivera up once and for all and highlight just how far out of his league he is,” says Bisping.

Their verbal joust and growing dislike for one another has prompted UFC president Dana White to call their battle a “fight of the night” in the making.

jose.rodriguez@sunmedia.ca


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