Jimmie Rivera is on the road to recovery, but hasn’t been able to gauge if he’s ready to compete yet.

Rivera (22-4 MMA, 6-3 UFC) was forced to pull out of his UFC 247 fight vs. Marlon Vera in February due to a nagging neck injury and is currently in the process of rehabbing it.

But due to the current circumstances of COVID-19, and with all the gyms shut down, Rivera hasn’t been able to test if he’s 100 percent yet due to the limited resources around him.

“I’ve always dealt with it, but it just kept getting worse and worse and it was good to have some time off,” Rivera told MMA Junkie. “Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to test it out in training yet because we don’t have any training going on. So that’s the downside to it.

“The upside is, I feel good and I’m doing what I can – lifting, hitting the bag and running. It’s like the only thing I’ve been able to do. Not being able to work with someone, it’s tough. And then not be able to test my injury and see my limits and see how it feels is tough, too.”

Rivera has been linked to Vera dating back to 2017, but admitted he’s not too keen on the potential rebooking unless it was offered to him again. He is coming off a unanimous decision loss to Petr Yan in a fight in which he was dropped multiple times, but controlled good portions of the rounds.

He’d rather face someone ahead of him in the rankings so he can get back to a spot as a top contender.

“It’s always a sticky situation because at the end of the day, the boss is the UFC – I’m not. But my ultimate goal is to always fight ahead of me,” Rivera said. “I fought Petr Yan knowing that if I win the fight, I could either get a No. 1 contender fight and get that close to the belt. That was the main reason I took the Petr Yan fight, but unfortunately it didn’t go my way.

“At this point right now, I think if Marlon was ahead of me, it would definitely be a fight that entertained me. But I want to kind of fight forward. My last five or six fights, maybe, were behind me.”

[embedded content]