While the roots of this particular bantamweight stand-off go way back, this most recent back-and-forth seems to have been initiated by Sterling on Tuesday. With UFC matchmaker Sean Shelby and a fair amount of emojis involved, Sterling started by making his case as to why the two should meet up in the octagon.
The “Funk Master” was not only the early aggressor, but also had the biggest output – with added points for his sharp gif game.
It was low-key savage Rivera, however, who arguably landed the most damaging shot (via Twitter).
It took a few tries for Sterling to finally lure Rivera in. But he kept the wait fun by taking on some of his favorite Twitter trolls.
Currently the No. 11 fighter in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA bantamweight rankings, Sterling (14-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) is certainly living a good octagon moment. After a bitter two-fight skid (both split decisions) halted an undefeated 12-fight pro run, Sterling bounced back with consecutive wins over Augusto Mendes and former 135-pound champion Renan Barao.
But Rivera (21-1 MMA, 5-0 UFC), who currently sits at No. 5, has been aiming a little higher in the bantamweight food chain. After a dominant decision over Thomas Almeida added a sixth win to his unbeaten UFC run – and 20th overall – Rivera went straight for ex-champs Dominick Cruz and T.J. Dillashaw.
Whether the matchup will materialize in the octagon remains to be seen. But, in the name of neutrality, The Blue Corner scores this Twitter exchange a fairly entertaining draw.