TXMMA – Texas Mixed Martial Arts

Legacy Fights Interview Series – “The White Belt that never Quit” Jordan Rivas

Happy New Year Houston MMA Fans!

First up in 2011 is a continuation of our Legacy Fights Interview Series with those set to hit the cage on January 29th at the Arena Theatre here in Houston.

In this conversation, we talk to welterweight contender Jordan Rivas. A lifelong martial artist, Elite MMA Baytown’s lead BJJ instructor is one of the rare breed of BJJ black belts competing in the Houston MMA scene. Carrying a 1-0 record as a professional fighter after an undefeated 3-0 run as an amateur, Rivas now looks to continue climbing the ranks towards title contention. In his next bout at Legacy, Rivas is set to take on “The best-kept secret in Houston MMA” Justin Murray of Bushi Ban. Ranked one-spot higher than him at welterweight on the latest edition of the Houston MMA Rankings, the 2-0 Murray may present Rivas with his toughest challenge yet as a professional fighter.

Along with his thoughts on that bout, I recently spoke to Jordan to get perspective on his burgeoning Mixed Martial Arts career, and how he compares MMA competition to his first love  – Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

Read on and get to know Jordan Rivas.

Jordan, observing your career so far, it seems like you’ve been quietly going about notching submission victories and now stand 1-0 as a pro. What are you goals in MMA?

I would like to take my MMA career as far as I can. I not only enjoy fighting MMA but am driven by the competition and the rush that I get from being in the cage.

You’re also a head instructor for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu at the Elite MMA Baytown academy in addition to being a fighter. How does teaching affect your own training?

Running a gym allows me to train full-time, but more importantly, I can honestly say that I love my job and not many people can say that.  I found a way to make a living doing what I am most passionate about. Elite MMA is a tight-knit community and a family, we push and pull each other. So when I am training for an event my teammates are there to help me prepare. I have a team of excellent grapplers and strikers so I am able to get well-rounded world class training every day.

When you’re not in the gym what do you do with your free time?

I’m always in the gym – except for Sunday.  On Sunday I will typically sleep as late as my three-year-old will allow and then enjoy time with my family.  Also, I’m big into Call of Duty so I try to squeeze in a few games of Black Ops during my down time.

As a BJJ Black Belt, do you feel there is any added pressure to perform in your fights? Do you find it makes it harder to get fights because of your rank?

I fight MMA because I want to fight, no one has ever pressured me. People expect me to submit my opponents, and thats always what I aim to do. In terms of getting people to take fights – It honestly has proven to be a bit of a challenge.  I think people want to do MMA so bad that they would rather be okay at a couple of things then really good at one thing.  Some just want to get “good enough” rather than putting in the time and sweat that it takes to be excellent.

What’s more of a love for you – Mixed Martial Arts or Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and why? How do you compare the two in terms of how you training and preparation?

Jiu Jitsu has always been my obsession. I love MMA, and I love competing in the sport, but BJJ will always remain my primary focus. In regards to my training for MMA and Jiu Jitsu – I go in raw dog and hope for the best! Just kidding! It’s pretty similar in terms of strength and conditioning. I run twice a week and also focus on plyometrics twice a week. But when I am preparing for a major BJJ competition, training is much more technical.

I know you’ve competed at the international level (e.g. Pan-Ams and the Mundials) several times, competing against guys like 2010 World Champion Bernardo Faria. What has that experience been like?

Competition at that level is always intense.  When you go to the Pan-Ams and The Worlds, those guys are the best of the best.  Everyone brings their A-games, and are going for the gold.  My high point thus far would have to be getting to the finals at purple belt in 08. I only came away with the silver that time but I still want to win gold at the black belt level, that’s the goal!

Moving onto your next fight in January at Legacy Fighting Championship – By now you may have read your next opponent’s interview here on TXMMA.com. In that interview Justin mentioned that he specifically asked for this fight with you. What are your thoughts on that?

Its pretty cool that someone asked to fight me.  I appreciate his professionalism. I’m not the kind of guy that talks a lot of sh-t in interviews and I believe in treating people how you want to be treated so I respect Justin for keeping it classy as well.

This fight with Justin will be your first at the professional level with an opponent who considers grappling as his strength. Are you excited to engage in a willing submission battle or do you think this fight will take place elsewhere?

I am lucky to have high level, well-rounded training partners, so I feel comfortable fighting an opponent from any background. 

What are your predictions for this fight? What outcome do you see in your mind?

I see myself finishing the fight with a submission.

What’s next for you after this fight?

I am running my first half marathon in February with my beautiful wife (somehow she talked me into running this thing).  Other than that I plan to compete in as many BJJ and MMA events as possible and stay healthy.  I would also like to take a training trip to Brazil at some point this year and start fighting outside of Texas to represent Houston fighters on a national level.

Any other thoughts on your mind? Anybody you’d like to thank and do you have any last minute words for your fans?

I would like to thank my wife Alaina for her support.  She has put up with my crazy training schedule for the past four years and has always stood behind me perusing my passion.   I would like to thank my team and training partners at Elite MMA.  Also, I would like to thank the Elite Baytown family for their constant support. Thanks as always to Mick for putting on a top-notch promotion for us fighters to showcase our skills and a big thanks to my sponsors at Fight Medics, BONA Fitness, and Rocket Delivery for their support.

Bonus Segment

For the very first time in this interview series, I had the opportunity to speak with the wife of one of our fighters.

I asked Alaina Rivas the question, “What would Jordan say if we told him to describe what’s he’s like outside the cage.”

Here’s how Alaina said Jordan would describe himself:

  • I’m a Star Wars fan boy.
  • I’m a fan of the Wu Tang Clan.
  • I own every episode of Seinfeld.
  • I have the useless talent of remembering random movie quotes.
  • I have a three-year-old son, named Thales.
  • I love dogs, especially red-nosed pits.
  • I’m scared of spider webs (not the spider).
  • I’m a coffee aficionado.
  • I have somewhat of an obsession with water bottles.
  • I also have one hell of a sweet tooth.