On Thursday, Jimmie Rivera called out Cody Garbrandt, a challenge that Garbrandt’s manager, Ali Abdelaziz, said the former bantamweight champion cannot accept because he has a broken hand.
— Jimmie Rivera (@JimmieRivera135) January 4, 2018
Another of Abdelaziz’s clients, Marlon Moraes, has stepped up in Garbrandt’s place and accepted the challenge. And to prove it, Moraes put the signature page of his bout agreement to fight Rivera on Twitter.
That leaves it up to Rivera whether he’s interested in the deal. Rivera and Moraes have a history on social media and were calling each other out and exchanging insults on Twitter. The 21-1 Rivera is ranked fourth at bantamweight and is closing in on a title shot.
It seemed he was hoping to use a win over Gabrandt to help him make his case he’s ready for a title shot, but Abdelaziz doubts Rivera’s sincerity. Abdelaziz told Yahoo Sports he believes Rivera knows that Garbrandt is unable to fight and was just trying to make himself look good by using Garbrandt’s name.
You’re only saying this because I just offered to Fight you on January 20 to give you time to make weight. And you just said NO again!!!#yourenotachampion #fatfeatherweight #weightwatchers
Onto the next opponent
— Jimmie Rivera (@JimmieRivera135) December 30, 2017
So Moraes, who scored a brutal KO of Aljamain Sterling with a knee last month, went to the UFC and pleaded for the fight, signing to fight Rivera on Fox on either Feb. 24 in Orlando or March 3 at UFC 222 in Las Vegas.
Moraes is ranked fifth at bantamweight and a bout between the two figures to be an action-filled, fan-friendly affair.
The onus is on Rivera to decide whether he wants it or prefers to wait until Garbrandt is healthy.