Vera firmly announced his arrival in the upper echelons of the 135-pound weight class last weekend by thoroughly beating top contender Rob Font in the UFC Vegas 53 main event.
If “Chito” had nerves ahead of his first headliner, he certainly didn’t show them. After starting slow and taking reads, Vera turned up the heat in round two, delivering a knockdown fest for the rest of the contest.
Despite being outstruck en route to his unanimous decision win, the Ecuadorian bared little damage, while Font was nearly unrecognizable after 25 minutes of action.
Now, having risen three spots to #5 on the bantamweight ladder, “Chito” has assessed his next step towards securing his first shot at gold in the UFC. Among his options is a fight against a name that he’s never hesitated to call out.
Vera Tells Cruz: “If You Want It, Come Get It”
During a recent appearance on Ariel Helwani’s The MMA Hour, Vera reiterated his desire to run it back with former featherweight king José Aldo, whom he lost to in December 2020.
But “Junior” wasn’t the only UFC legend on the Ecuadorian’s lips.
When the name of Dominick Cruz was brought up, “Chito” was quick to point out the instances in which the former two-time bantamweight titleholder dismissed a match with him because he was too far down the rankings.
Now that the tables have turned, Vera called on “The Dominator,” who’s currently ranked #8, to finally accept him as an opponent.
“Let’s talk about that (Cruz). Before, in the 10 times he declined to fight me — I’m not calling him a p*ssy, but he declined a couple times in the past,” recalled Vera. “He was always talking (about) he wants to fight somebody above him. Guess what? I’m above you right now, mother*cker. So now we can go.
“They tried to make (a fight with Cruz) when I lost to Aldo. I was, I think, 14 or 15 back then. He was like, ‘No, it’s not worth it, blah, blah, blah, (he’s) too low.’ Then they tried to make it before the Edgar fight. I was number, like 13? He was like, ‘Ah no, too low, blah, blah, blah, I need somebody to push me to the belt.’ I think if you beat number five, you can push to the belt homie. The war is out there. If you want it, come get it,” concluded Vera.
With the possible re-arrival of Henry Cejudo, and top contenders like Petr Yan, TJ Dillashaw, Cory Sandhagen, Merab Dvalishvili, Cruz, and Aldo all without an official booking, the future of the bantamweight division is yet to be laid out.
Nevertheless, one thing is for certain: Marlon “Chito” Vera is in the mix.
How do you think a fight between Marlon Vera and Dominick Cruz would play out?