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

How a female boxer helped Frank Mir reinvent himself to keep his career alive (Yahoo Sports)

  • 21 days ago
  • 12 views

From Yahoo Sports: Mir's career was at a crossroads after four straight losses. Now, with Ana Julaton's aid, he may again be a contender. read news >>

TUF 21 Finale results: Willie Gates takes out Darrell Montague in 96 seconds

  • 23 days ago
  • 2 views

LAS VEGAS – Willie Gates’ video promo said he fought like he was double parked outside, and that turned out to be a pretty good description of his fight with Darrell Montague.Filed under: News, UFC read news >>

Twitter reacts to Robbie Lawler's knockout of Rory MacDonald at UFC 189

  • 24 days ago
  • 68 views

Robbie Lawler has been flawless in rematches during his career. At UFC 189 he continued that trend when he topped Rory MacDonald for a second time with a fifth-round knockout in the co-main event to read news >>

UFC 189 results: Gunnar Nelson stops Brandon Thatch for 10th career submission

  • 24 days ago
  • 3 views

Gunnar Nelson went back to basics and shook off his first career loss in short order. The Icelandic submission whiz wasted little time Saturday night at UFC 189 against Brandon Thatch, winning via re read news >>

UFC 189 results: Thomas Almeida buries Brad Pickett with vicious jumping knee

  • 24 days ago
  • 3 views

Thomas Almeida remains undefeated with his 20th career victory after turning the lights out on Brad Pickett to open the main card at UFC 189. The Brazilian phenom defeated Brad "One Punch" Pickett by read news >>

'Cyborg' crashed the MetroPCS booth to deliver Ronda Rousey a message

  • 24 days ago
  • 576 views

So MetroPCS set up a booth so fight fans could send UFC champion Ronda Rousey their well-wishes? “Cyborg” apparently knows an opportunity when she sees one.Filed under: News, UFC, Videos read news >>

UFC 189's Dennis Bermudez to Jeremy Stephens: 'Catch me if you can'

  • 25 days ago
  • 0 views

If you’ve watched Jeremy Stephens during his eight-year, 20-fight UFC career, you know about the striker’s weapons of choice. His UFC 189 opponent, meanwhile, isn’t exactly concerned.Filed under: Fea read news >>

CM Punk talks UFC debut, criticism, religion in MMA and new writing career with Marvel Comics

  • 25 days ago
  • 6 views

CM Punk took part in his very own media scrum while in Las Vegas for International Fight Week and UFC 189. Among the topics discussed were training, his UFC debut, religion in MMA and his blossoming read news >>

Dan Hardy planning a full fight camp, hasn't given up on fighting again

  • 26 days ago
  • 1 views

Though he hasn't fought in nearly three years, one-time welterweight contender Dan Hardy isn't quite done yet. In fact, he's planning on putting himself through a training camp again. As reported on read news >>

UFC Middleweight Costas Philippou Retires from MMA

  • 27 days ago
  • 0 views

In a somewhat surprising move, UFC middleweight contender Costas Philippou has decided to end his MMA career. Philippou has not personally commented on his decision. However, Sherdog did confirm the read news >>