Ivan Menjivar Says UFC 148 Opponent Change “Part of the Sport, Not Disappointed” About Losing Fight With Renan Barao
By Kelsey Mowatt
The road to Ivan Menjivar’s next bout recently took a significant turn, as the veteran found out that he would no longer fight Renan Barao at UFC 148 as scheduled, due to the fact the latter has been moved into a bantamweight interim title bout with Urijah Faber. Although Menjivar has been removed from a fight that many believed would determine the promotion’s number one contender, the vet apparently has no issues about facing his new opponent, the rising Mike Easton.
“No, no, that’s part of the sport,” said Menjivar, while discussing whether he was disappointed by the news he will no longer fight Barao on July 7th. “In MMA and a fighting career you have to be ready. I’m lucky that I have an opponent. They changed it about a month and a half before the fight, so that’s the best. I remember I’ve done fights where they changed my opponent the day of the weigh-ins, so this is okay.”
After it was relayed that UFC Bantamweight Champion Dominic Cruz could no longer fight Faber as scheduled, due to a torn ACL, there was immediate speculation as to who the UFC would choose to compete for an interim title. Although Barao seemed to be the consensus favorite, some observers, including Faber himself, acknowledged that Menjivar might be a possibility.
“When I knew I was one of the three guys that might be asked to step up for the fight I was happy,” Menjivar told Full Contact Fighter. “I knew that it was a good opportunity, but at the same time, I knew Barao had many wins in a row, so that made me think that they would have him challenge Faber.”
“I just got back for two years, so I thought that might change things a little bit,” Menjivar added, who after not competing for approximately three and a half years, returned to action in 2010 and has gone 4-1 since. “It’s okay. I’m not disappointed. I have a new opponent and I’m still in the show. That’s the best for me.”
In Easton (12-1), Menjivar will face a fighter who has won seven straight fights, which includes victories over Chase Beebe, TUF 14 winner Jon Dodson, and most recently Jared Papazian. In other words, Menjivar still has a pivotal challenge in front of him.
“I saw some of his fights yesterday and I like him; he’s a good fighter,” said Menjivar, who has scored wins over Nick Pace, Charlie Valencia and most recently John Albert since he returned to the UFC last year. “He’s strong; has power, and he moves a lot, so he’s a good opponent. I’ll have to train hard and be ready for the fight.”
“We have time to change the camp,” Menjivar furthered. “This guy is a little bit different in size, so, we say okay, we’ll fight like this. Little adjustments….What’s important for me is there’s time to get better. Have better wrestling, better striking, and good jiu-jitsu. It’s time for me to keep learning.”
If Menjivar can defeat Easton, one would think that he would be in position for a title shot–interim or not–however, the 29 year-old-fighter isn’t thinking about that right now.
“This is another fight for me,” Menjivar noted. “Honestly, I’ve had a beautiful career, maybe one day I’ll have a belt, I’d be glad for that, but if I never have a belt or a title shot I’ll still be happy about my career. It’s part of the game.”
“My goal is to train smart, hard, have fun, go get in the ring and fight. That’s the best time.”