Image Credit: USA TODAY Sports

His career shows one of the steadiest climbs in all of the sport, and with a match-up announced against a former champ, it seems that Jimmie Rivera’s quest to the top could soon see its resolution.

Rivera has gone undefeated in all five of his Octagon appearances, and has lost only once in his 22-fight MMA career (and that was a close decision loss to a heavier fighter at a regional show – I was there). He’s got great ground skills, fantastic counter-boxing, and is made of iron. He’s outlasted Thomas Almeida and Urijah Faber, and now the UFC will pit him against Dominick Cruz at UFC 219. What will a win against Cruz do? Obviously, beating the former champ could mean a crack at current champ Cody Garbrandt.

Here’s the official announcement.

So… we’ve all watched the gradual, methodical ascension of Jimmie Rivera together. Think he can beat Cruz?