LAS VEGAS – Marlon Vera hasn’t received a contract to fight, but that hasn’t stopped him from preparing as if he’ll be competing for gold before the year is done.
In his next outing, Vera (23-8-1 MMA, 15-7 UFC) expects to run it back with Sean O’Malley. Although this time, the stakes will be much higher because O’Malley (17-1 MMA, 9-1 UFC) is the newly-crowned UFC bantamweight champion.
At the UFC 30th anniversary Q&A before the Noche UFC ceremonial weigh-ins, Vera was asked if there was any movement on the fight coming to fruition. Vera confirmed he hasn’t received a contract, but also feels O’Malley has changed his tone in recent days.
“As of now, they haven’t said anything yet,” Vera told reporters and fans. “I’m preparing as (if) I am fighting in December. You know, why not? I mean, the guy was talking about fighting and stuff like that. Now he’s backing out. I guess when you’re a champion, you can call the shots, so let’s see what that b*tch want to do.”
“Chito” and O’Malley first met inside the octagon at UFC 252 in August 2020. The fight didn’t make it out of the first round after Vera capitalized on an O’Malley leg injury, and pummeled him on the ground with vicious elbows for a TKO victory.
If they do meet again, Vera feels he won’t need to change much from their first meeting. As long as he maintains his current trajectory of steady improvements, “Chito” feels he will be able to get the job done again to take the title from “Suga.”
“I just keep getting better, keep training, staying in better shape,” Vera said. “Show up a little faster than I was before, (with) better technique than I had before. If I can improve a little bit from what I was in the fight before, that’s all I need to be. He’s a good fighter. He have the belt right now, but make no mistake, I’m going to kick his ass again.”
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