Sunday, October 2, 2022

Vera Open To Welcoming Cejudo Back: “I’ll Definitely Kick His Ass”

UFC bantamweight contender Marlon Vera is willing to be the man who welcomes former two-division champion Henry Cejudo back to the Octagon.

In recent months, Vera has developed from an entertaining fan favorite prospect to a legitimate player in the 135-pound title picture. While he came close to making that progression following his victory over Sean O’Malley, “Chito” fell victim to the resurgence of José Aldo in December 2020.

But that defeat turned out to be nothing but a temporary stall, with the Ecuadorian quickly rebounding with a pair of wins over Davey Grant and Frankie Edgar in 2021. And this year, Vera hasn’t slowed, emerging victorious in consecutive main events.

After laying a beating on Rob Font en route to a decision triumph in April, Vera added the name of Dominick Cruz to his record in San Diego last month, brutally knocking the former titleholder out with a vicious head kick.

Having cemented his place in the top five with a fourth straight victory, Vera told InsideFighting that he fully expects to be next in line for a title shot following TJ Dillashaw’s opportunity versus Sterling in October.

“I think a title shot’s gonna come my way,” Vera said. “I think I’m doing the things that the UFC wanna see. I put Dana (White) on his feet and they like these kind of performances. They don’t want you to f*ck around. They want you to put them out… I think I’m next in line.”

But the bantamweight gold isn’t the only option Vera is open to, with the possible return of the division’s former kingpin also intriguing him.

Vera: Cejudo Win Would Be The “Cherry On My Résumé”

Given that Vera is always game to fight whoever the UFC puts in front of him, with the Ecuadorian fighting three places down the rankings following his victory over then-top five contender Font, it’s perhaps unsurprising that “Chito” would accept a date in the cage with Henry Cejudo.

In the same interview, Vera was asked whether a collision with “Triple C” would interest him, or if it’s title shot or nothing. After expressing interest in adding another former champion to his record, the 29-year-old suggested that he’ll ‘kick Cejudo’s ass’ if the 35-year-old Californian returns to action.

“I’d take that fight, too. He’s a former champion. Yeah, somebody that had the belt before would put a cherry on my résumé,” Vera noted. “So, if that guy wants to come back, I’ll definitely kick his ass.”

After a two-year retirement, former bantamweight and flyweight champion Cejudo re-entered the USADA testing pool earlier this year.

Whilst he was initially targeting a record-breaking feat up at featherweight, UFC President Dana White was quick to shut that immediate pursuit down, insisting that Cejudo would have to regain the 135-pound gold first.

And having suggested that he was left unimpressed by Vera’s latest win, perhaps “Triple C” would accept the chance to end the Ecuadorian’s surge towards to the top.

How do you think a fight between Marlon Vera and Henry Cejudo would play out?

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