Even after the biggest win of his career, Marlon Vera isn’t being picky about his next fight.
Vera demolished top-ranked bantamweight Rob Font this past weekend in the main event of UFC Vegas 53 to vault into the top five of the UFC’s 135-pound rankings. While the performance inched Vera closer to title contention than he’s been in his nine-year UFC career, it also didn’t change his “anyone, anywhere” approach toward the fight game.
When Vera was asked about a next step Monday at The MMA Hour , Vera stated that he wanted to settle unfinished business with Dominick Cruz, a former champ.
“Before, in the 10 times he declined to fight me — I’m not calling you a p****, but he declined a couple times in the past — he was always talking, he wanted to fight [opponents who were] above him [in the rankings]. You know what? You’re right, momf***er. We can now go. Now we can go,” Vera said Monday on The MMA Hour.
“They tried to make it when I lost to [Jose] Aldo [in late 2020]. I was I think [ranked] 14 or 15 back then. … Then they tried to make it before the [Frankie] Edgar fight [in late 2021], I was No. 13 or 11, he was like, ‘No, no, too low. Blah, blah, blah. Blah, blah, blah. 5 [now], we’re going to be pushing to the belt, homie. It’s your call. Right here.”
Vera, 29, has been impressive in his three-fight win streak over Font, Davey Grant, and Edgar, the last of whom Vera finished in highlight-reel fashion. This is the continuation of an evolutionary trend that’s impossible to overlook. A product of The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America, “Chito” struggled early in his octagon career, stringing together a middling 4-4 record in his first eight UFC bouts, before turning things around to go 9-2 in his past 11 appearances.
One of the only bantamweights to defeat Vera during his recent upswing has been Jose Aldo. Vera called out Aldo for a rematch in the aftermath of his win at UFC Vegas 53, and although the Cruz fight also remains on his radar, Aldo would still be Vera’s top choice.
” “I feel that they could make this happen since it was close,” Vera stated of Vera, the former UFC featherweight champion. It could easily be a title eliminator.
“Former champ against me. He beat me. People were probably thinking back then that he wasn’t ready. I then went back to drawing boards, kicked three more, and came back. Now it’s like: “You’ve got the proof you belong. That fight would be a great experience for me. It’s something that me, personally, I would love to take that one back, so I hope I can get it.”
Vera stated that he isn’t picky when he fights the next opponent.
When Cory Sandhagen was asked to comment on a much-discussed bout against another top bantamweight competitor, “Chito”, didn’t mince his words.
“He could get it,” Vera stated. He wasn’t there when we were supposed to be the main event in February. I think he was hurt — he seems to be a f***ing real one, so I can’t talk s*** if I’m not sure. I’m sure about Cruz saying he wants something bigger. Sandhagen is the most interesting case. And if we’re talking about anybody, [Petr] Yan called me out too. Yan, it’s your turn. You can get it anytime, anywhere. So, bro, I’m not picky. I am not the kind of person [says], “OK, which one of these guys is most winnable?” I do not think that way. It’s too difficult for me to think this way. … So any of those guys, we can talk. Anyone.”
If it wasn’t clear already, no one is safe with Vera poised to be a major player in the UFC bantamweight division.
After hearing how Aljamain Sterling, the UFC bantamweight champion, didn’t like past comments Vera had made about the show, the Ecuadorian native launched a little rant at Aljamain.
“How old are you, motherf***er? Do you have hair on your f***ing balls? Act like a f***ing man,” Vera said in response to Sterling.
“The guy’s a little bit of a b****.”