The last time Ivan Menjivar (Pictured) fought in the UFC, he was competing two weight divisions heavier than his current home at 135 pounds. Despite the disadvantage, though, “The Pride of El Salvador” went the distance against future UFC welterweight champion Matt Serra, who was fighting at 155 then.

That’s the story of Menjivar’s career thus far: fighting, and often beating, bigger opposition. He dropped a decision to Serra in their bout at UFC 48 in June 2004, but his entertaining performance continued to stir speculation over how good he could be if the UFC had a bantamweight division.

Now it does, and nearly seven years later, Menjivar will return to the Octagon on Saturday in his home of Canada, at his natural weight of 135.

“In the beginning I was dreaming for the sport to become big like [this],” Menjivar said recently on the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Beatdown” show. “In the next five years, this sport should be better and bigger. But for right now, it’s a great, great moment for us.”

Menjivar has fought just twice since returning to MMA after a three-and-a-half-year hiatus. He had left the sport in November 2006 to tend to a knee injury and spend time with his family.

“That was a good time for me to take a break to focus on my family and myself,” he said. “When I saw ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ coming out, I realized, oh, this is going to be big and people are going to love it. I realized it was a bad moment to take a break, but life is like that.”

Menjivar submitted Aaron Miller with a triangle choke last June in his return bout. In December he debuted in the WEC, dropping an entertaining decision to Brad Pickett.

“I enjoyed the fight,” Menjivar said. “It was fun to fight with him. He’s strong. He punched me and I punched him, but I made mistakes. I didn’t [follow] my strategy much, my plan much, and he took me down. That’s why I lost.”

The back-and-forth bout likely helped Menjivar work out the kinks of his comeback, however. He’ll need to be sharp at UFC 129, when he takes on Charlie Valencia.

“I know he has good wrestling and good submissions,” Menjivar said. “I’ll have to [be careful] and don’t let him play the game. … I’ve seen his last three or four fights. I studied him with my partners and coach. We studied him to not make bad mistakes. We have a secret strategy to confuse him and play with him and to give a good fight at the same time.”

Putting on an exciting fight seems to be of the utmost importance for Menjivar. He has a reputation as an entertainer, and he’ll have the biggest audience of his career with the UFC already selling 55,000 tickets for the event. It’s an enormous stage for a fighter who has long waited his turn. He plans on giving fans their money’s worth whether they’re inside the Rogers Centre in Toronto or watching on pay-per-view.

“Everybody can see us in Australia, everywhere -- China, Japan, they’re watching us,” Menjivar said. “That’s why my only goal is to go in there 100 percent and give them the best fight they’ve ever seen before.”

Listen to the full interview (beginning at 43:10).

view original article >>
Report here if this news is invalid.

Related News

Ahead of UFC 207, champ Dominick Cruz tells story of how a canceled card changed his career

  • 29 days ago
  • 56 views

After a triumphant comeback earlier this year, UFC bantamweight champ Dominick Cruz has already secured his spot among MMA’s all-time greats. Filed under: News, UFC, Videos read news >>

Dana White not expecting another comeback by ex-UFC champ Brock Lesnar

  • 24 days ago
  • 13 views

Never say never, but it appears Brock Lesnar’s career as a UFC fighter could be over once and for all.Filed under: News, UFC read news >>

Nunes vs. Rousey: Career Stats, Highlights for Both Before UFC 207

  • 23 days ago
  • 25 views

After 411 days of waiting since her last fight, Ronda Rousey will make her long-awaited return to the Octagon against Amanda Nunes in the main event at UFC 207. Friday's bout represents an opportunit read news >>

Ray Borg hopes UFC 207 win over Louis Smolka kickstarts run to champ Demetrious Johnson

  • 21 days ago
  • 19 views

LAS VEGAS – It’s been a bizarre latter half of 2016 for Ray Borg, and he’s hoping to have a good end to the calendar year ahead of a fresh start in 2017. Filed under: News, UFC, Videos read news >>

Neil Magny's Controversial Decision Over Johnny Hendricks (UFC 207 Highlights) | MMAWeekly.com

  • 20 days ago
  • 22 views

Neil Magny and former welterweight champion Johny Hendricks fought to a split decision at UFC 207 on Friday. Check out the fight highlights. read news >>

Amanda Nunes: What Will She Do with Her Money? (UFC 207 video) | MMAWeekly.com

  • 19 days ago
  • 29 views

What will Amanda Nunes do with the money she made from the biggest fight of her career after beating Ronda Rousey at UFC 207? read news >>

A rare street-fight story from UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture

  • 15 days ago
  • 425 views

Although he enjoyed a decorated career in MMA, former UFC champion and UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture wasn’t much of a fighter growing up.Filed under: News, UFC, WSOF read news >>

Michael Bisping just threw a wrench in fellow UFC champ Tyron Woodley's plans

  • 13 days ago
  • 917 views

For the first time in his career, UFC welterweight champ Tyron Woodley is in high demand. All sorts of opponents are clamoring to fight him, and he’s determined to get the biggest matchup possible.Fi read news >>

UFC Fight Night 103 pre-fight facts: Returning B.J. Penn seeks first win since 2010

  • 10 days ago
  • 10 views

The UFC Hall of Fame career of B.J. Penn will see another chapter on Sunday when “The Prodigy” again returns from a retirement, this time to face Yair Rodriguez in UFC Fight Night 103’s headliner. Ch read news >>

Chris 'Lights Out' Lytle is Fighting the Good Fight Outside of the UFC Cage | MMAWeekly.com

  • 23 days ago
  • 28 views

Retired UFC welterweight contender Chris "Lights Out" Lytle fought with heart inside the cage and is using his former fighter status to change lives. read news >>