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Jorge Rivera effectively under Michael Bisping’s skin heading into UFC 127

Bisping breaks silence at press conference in Sydney, Australia

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Steve Marcus

Michael Bisping of England celebrates after defeating Dan Miller of New Jersey in a middleweight bout during UFC 114 on May 29, 2010 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Bisping won by unanimous decision.

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A fighter can only hold back for so long.

For the last three weeks leading up to their fight in Sydney, Australia, at UFC 127, Jorge Rivera has taunted and trash-talked opponent Michael Bisping through a series of online videos. Bisping didn’t respond and kept quiet for the most part — until Tuesday.

Bisping finally unleashed his feelings at Rivera during the UFC 127 fight week press conference, which UFC streamed live on its website.

“I’m fighting in the premier fighting organization in the world, and I’m trying to behave accordingly,” Bisping said at the press conference. “I’m a professional fighter. I’m not an idiot in the schoolyard, making up silly rhymes, jokes and making stupid videos.”

Bisping and Rivera face off in the co-Main Event of UFC 127, which airs via pay-per-view at 7 p.m. Saturday from the Acer Arena in Sydney.

“I believe he’s massively underestimated me, and I’m looking forward to making a fool out of him on the night,” Bisping added.

For once, Bisping was the one doing all the talking. Rivera sat on the other side of the podium and offered little to retort Bisping’s attacks.

Bisping even appeared frustrated by Rivera’s reluctance to bark back at him.

“Sorry, do you not have your script,” Bisping asked as he looked in Rivera’s direction. “You’ve got to think for yourself up here now.”

“This is a press conference, by the way, Jorge. This is what you do. I know it’s your first time being involved in something like this. Welcome to the big leagues. After this, you’ll be back to the undercard. Believe me.”

Rivera is a UFC veteran, as his first fight came at UFC 44 against David Loiseau in 2003, but he hasn’t spent much time in the spotlight.

His unspectacular 7-5 UFC record can probably explain that, but he’s recently gone on a three-fight win streak that earned him the reward of a step up in competition level.

Bisping is one of the biggest names in the middleweight division and has gone 10-3 since breaking into the UFC through winning the third season of “The Ultimate Fighter”.

“Jorge is a relic,” Bisping said. “He’s a throwback to the beginning of mixed martial arts. I’m a complete mixed martial artist. I’ll be showing him that that night. I’ll do my talking then.”

Rivera responded, “I look forward to that.”

Perhaps Rivera’s newest video is what set Bisping off the most. Before the press conference, Rivera poked fun at Bisping through a parody video of a song from the 1999 film “South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut”.

Bisping said he thought the piece “was something my 9-year old son would come up with.”

“Some of it was fun and some of it was to get in his head,” Rivera said. “You see how he responds, so I’m cool with it.”

Much less trash talk has existed between welterweight contenders B.J. Penn and Jon Fitch, who headline the UFC 127 card.

Asked what he would do if an opponent acted like Rivera, Penn said he would ignore it.

“I’d probably keep my mouth shut and wait to see what happens in the ring,” Penn said.

It’s now too late for Bisping to take a similar approach.

Case Keefer can be reached at 948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at twitter.com/casekeefer.

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