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It’s been a steady and calculated climb, but finally Jimmie Rivera can claim membership among the elites of the bantamweight division. Unfortunately, nowadays winning isn’t enough to get the big fights – you have to talk a little trash – so that’s what Rivera is doing.

After beating Renan Barao, Rivera called out TJ Dillashaw. On yesterday’s “The MMA Hour“, he talked about banging Dillashaw up in training.

If that ends up being Dillashaw, Rivera feels like he can handle anything the former champ can send his way. The two sparred several years ago when both were guests at Roufusport in Milwaukee, and while we’re only hearing one side of the story here, Rivera’s version is that he got the best of things by far.

“At the time, he wasn’t in the UFC yet, he just finished with The Ultimate Fighter or was about to fight in the Finale, one of the two,” Rivera said. “And I went out to Milwaukee to Pettis’ gym, to Roufusport … Faber and Dillashaw and them walk in, and I’m like ‘this is cool, am I going to get to train with them?’ This is when I was like a little kid. So I got to train with them and ‘wow, I thought they were going to be a lot better.’ I put them on this pedestal, but they’re not. I’m on the same level as them.’

“And then I got to spar TJ and I was like, wow, this guy is one of the top, up-there 135s,” Rivera continued. “And I’m sparring him, and I’m piecing him up and having fun with it, I’m like, this is just fun. I wasn’t even in shape, I just went in there and had some fun.”