Seeing Petr Yan capture the UFC bantamweight title has given Jimmie Rivera confidence.

Rivera (22-4 MMA, 6-3 UFC) hasn’t competed since June 2019, when he suffered a unanimous decision loss to Yan at UFC 238 in a fight where the American produced a competitive performance in defeat to the future UFC champion.

Rivera was able to find his range and land solid shots in their exchanges, but was dropped twice at the end of both Rounds 1 and 2 as he lost out to Yan on the judges’ scorecards.

After defeating Rivera, Yan knocked out Urijah Faber at UFC 245, then finished Jose Aldo at UFC 251 as he captured the vacant bantamweight title.

It’s been a rough stretch for Rivera, who’s dropped three of his last four, but all to top-level competition. Though he lost to Yan in his last outing, Rivera was able to gauge where he stands in the division, which has motivated him to climb his way back up to contention.

“Yeah it does,” Rivera told reporters during the UFC on ESPN 13 virtual media day. “I feel like people say different things, but I think I gave Yan his toughest fight and just the fact that I knew I was up in the first and second round, and I wanted to coast, was a hard lesson learned.

“It’s definitely a big motivation to get back in there and just to fight and obviously taking a fight last minute to fill up a spot and help the UFC out. So I’m looking forward to it, just getting back in and grateful that the UFC gave me this opportunity.”

Rivera was forced to sit out earlier in the year when he tested positive for COVID-19, but was able to use training to get back to full recovery. Now he’s ready to return and, although his fight booking with Stamann came together in about a week – and despite the short-notice nature of his return – Rivera said he’s just happy to be back competing.

“I want to say I should do really well in this fight,” Rivera said. “I’m just looking to put on a war and put on a fight for the fans, to be honest. My only worry in the outcome is getting my hand raised, getting the W at the end, but obviously (I’m) always hoping to get the finish.”