UFC’s Ivan Menjivar Enjoying Life as Featherweight, Cautions Young Fighters: “Not Everybody Makes Money Like GSP”
By Kelsey Mowatt
When Ivan Menjivar steps into the Octagon at the TUF China Finale on March 1st, the Tristar fighter will be in a position that he hasn’t seen for quite a while. For the first time since 2006, when Menjivar was competing for K-1 Hero’s, the dynamic fighter is coming off consecutive losses. Although a third straight defeat could mark the end of Menjivar’s second run with the UFC, the decade plus vet doesn’t seem to be fazed by the circumstances.
Menjivar headed into the 2013 campaign having submitted Azamat Gashimov at UFC 154, and was on the move in the bantamweight division thanks to a 4-1 run. Up next, however, he was tapped out by perennial contender Urijah Faber last February. Then, Menjivar dropped a decision loss to Wilson Reis at UFC 165 in September. Following the setbacks, the 31 year-old vet has decided to end his days as a bantamweight.
“I don’t feel any pressure,” Menjivar noted recently on Full Contact Fighter Radio, while discussing what’s riding on his upcoming bout with featherweight Hatsu Hioki. “I lost last time because, honestly, I pushed my body to doing that weight category. Everybody cut weight, that’s kind of the new UFC sport, but I get tired. I don’t like it anymore to cut that much weight; twenty pounds.”
“You know, maybe I’m the smaller guy in the show, in the fight, at that weight category, but I prefer to eat well…,” added the 5’6 tall Menjivar. “I feel good, I feel comfortable, I don’t feel any stress, because honestly, it’s a dream to fight, to make money, to be part of the sport, but the sport is really hard right now. So, my goal is to make the most fight that I can, and do what I love.”
After Menjivar dropped back-to-back bouts against Bart Palaszewski and Caol Uno in 2006, he walked away from fighting for several years, so that he could provide a better living for his young family. While Menjivar is happy he returned to a more prosperous MMA in 2010, and has lived out his dream by competing for the UFC once again, the Montreal resident says being a fighter remains a struggle.
“To be honest, a full time job pays more,” noted Menjivar. “I love what I do, but I need to perform to have the money to really present myself like a pro fighter. Honestly, right now, I feel like semi-pro. I do it because I love it. Can I live with this? What I make? Honestly, no.”
“So I say to the young guys who are starting fighting, you guys train hard, but still, you need to have your documents, your papers, diploma, education, because you never know,” added Menjivar, who made his pro debut back in 2001. “The sport is really hard. Not everybody makes money like Georges St. Pierre…”
Of course, Menjivar isn’t the only fighter in recent months to raise the issue of fighter compensation, at a time when MMA has never been bigger in North America.
“We need help from the sponsors, we need help from the organization,” furthered Menjivar, who also holds down a part-time job. “We need to survive too. With no fighters, there’s no sport, so we need to work together to feel happy with this.”
Stay tuned to Full Contact Fighter for a follow up article regarding Menjivar’s thoughts on the upcoming Hioki fight.