After picking up his 20th straight win against Thomas Almeida at UFC on FOX 25, the gloves are off for Jimmie Rivera.
The top-ranked bantamweight contender called out former champion Dominick Cruz at a post-fight media scrum in Long Island, New York.
“Defend your spot or get out of the way,” Rivera told Cruz bluntly, per MMA Junkie’s Steven Marrocco and Matt Erickson.
Cruz, the former WEC and UFC bantamweight champ, has been out of action since he lost the title to breakout talent Cody Garbrandt at UFC 207, but is still ranked as the official No. 1 contender.
Rivera, who cruised to a decision over the 25-year-old Almeida, also opted to fight T.J. Dillashaw for the interim title.
“What I want next is either to fight T.J. for an interim belt if (champ) Cody (Garbrandt) is still hurt, or get Cruz off the bench and let’s fight,” Rivera told the media.
Dillashaw, who lost the title to Cruz last year, was expected to face current champ and former teammate ‘No Love’ at UFC 213 but the bout has been postponed to an undisclosed date due to a back injury sustained by Garbrandt.
Rivera, 28, is one of the hottest prospects in the division and is hoping to climb one step closer to a title shot by beating Cruz or Dillashaw in the fall.
“I’m hoping to get back in there in November, whether it’s T.J. or Cruz,” he said. “I hope to get back in November in (Madison Square Garden).”
The New Jersey-born fighter extended his UFC win streak to five and moved up one spot, to No. 4 in the official rankings.
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