Marlon Vera is savoring the climb to the top of the bantamweight division.
Currently No. 6 at 135 pounds in the MMA Fighting Global Rankings, Vera is set to face Cory Sandhagen (No. 4) in the main event of UFC Vegas 69 on Feb. 18. 944 at UFC Vegas.
That situation sits just fine with Vera, who considers his relationship with the UFC to be rock solid and expects the matchmakers to gladly grace him with a title shot in the future.
“It is all good,” Vera stated Monday at The MMA Hour . “I’m going on to become a world champion. Out of my heart, not just f****** talking, not just becoming a f****** influencer for beating somebody these days — I really believe deep down in my heart I’m going to be a world champion. I’m going to hold a UFC belt someday.
” I’m in a hurry? No dude, I’m f****** 30 years old. I just turned 30. I’ve got my best years ahead of me. Just keep doing what got you here, which is consistency, work. Each person has a unique path. Others talk their way into it. Others kick their way into the ranks. It’s just a matter of time until I get the belt. The world knows it, I know the UFC knows it. I know it.
“I know they are f***ing with me,” Vera said. They like me, and I’m talking here about UFC. They do want me to hold the belt, so I’m like, why get all crazy? I’ve been handling my career pretty good. They give me everything I need, whether it’s winning or kicking my asses. So we’re chilling.”
Vera has been one of the best bantamweights in the world for the past few years, scoring marquee wins over Dominick Cruz, Rob Font, Frankie Edgar, and O’Malley. Vera is the current No. 1 bantamweight and has now won four consecutive fights since losing to Jose Aldo. 1 contender.
But, instead, Vera finds herself up against Sandhagen who is a former interim champion and one of the most dangerous fighters within his division. To Vera, there was no hesitation when it came to the proposed headliner.
“I don’t expect anything except myself to do this beautiful ****** life.” Vera stated when she was asked about her fight against Sandhagen. This fight was known to me since about a month ago, when I beat Cruz. When I was commenting on Sean [Shelby],, I said, “Hey man! I don’t want you to break my balls, ******” 20 talking to you today, just tell me what you think is going to happen next. Let’s have a chat
” I don’t enjoy asking the UFC to send me a ***,. Think about this: Every day someone calls to ask for this, and they say they want it, and they also want to negotiate. My ****** bread is what I enjoy. I just put people out, work my ass off, and keep going. After I had told Sean Shelby everything I knew about the fight, he said that my only open opportunity right now was in February.
Ideally, Vera would have liked to have fought a third time to close out 2022, but the timing didn’t work out. He is not complaining about his title loss, even though Cejudo could be earning it, or O’Malley sneaking by him following a split decision victory over Petr Yan.
Vera focuses on what he has control over.
“There’s a lot of chances after the way I beat Font, the way I beat Cruz, the way I beat Edgar, that pretty much guarantee a title shot, but things can shake out so many ways,” Vera said. “Cejudo is coming back. Former champ coming back that never lost the belt, even if he won the belt against Marlon Moraes? Does that sound legit? Maybe, maybe not. But it’s still you winning the belt. I don’t care if you win it against grandma. You have the belt, you’re the champ, the guy retires and is coming back.
Yan was defeated by
“O’Malley. No matter how controversial, the win will be a victory. You move on. Things can turn out to be quite crazy. It’s so easy to cry, and then feel like I’ve earned it. I’m like, you want me to kick some guy’s ass, put it in front of me. I will ****** finish the task and move on in my life. I can expect a lot of things, but I also can’t control all the things. These things don’t cause me to trip. When I am healthy, I can accomplish anything. So thank God that .”
Even with the knowledge that nothing is guaranteed for him, Vera has allowed himself to imagine what a 2023 run to a UFC title might look like.
” “I said it this way, Aljo will be fighting Cejudo in March,” Vera stated. “I beat Sandhagen in February, they make the winner of that versus O’Malley in June or July, I’m fighting for the belt in November, MSG. That’s sexy.”