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All eyes are on Marlon Vera in anticipation for his next UFC bout.
The Ecuadorian is set to compete in the co-main event this Saturday at UFC 252, which is being headline by a heavyweight trilogy bout between champion Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier. And alongside that bout, Vera (15-6-1 MMA, 9-5 UFC) takes on the hugely popular and undefeated Sean O'Malley (12-0 MMA, 4-0 UFC).
Vera believes he deserves higher praise, and sees his face-off with O'Malley as a surefire way to rise in the rankings.
“This is a fight that puts me close to the top five,” Vera said, “We’ve seen fighters like Cody Garbrandt, who are coming off three defeats, beat someone who’s basically outside of the rankings like (Raphael) Assuncao, knocks him out, and gets in the top three above Pedro Munhoz, who knocked him out.
“So the rankings make no sense. But since this is a popularity contest, I beat the brat, and they have to put me in the top, so good for me.”
Vera boasts an impressive 5-1 record over his last six outings, with his only loss coming from a controversial decision defeat to Song Yadong in May. O'Malley, however, remains undefeated.
“Chito” is glad to be getting a big fight despite having come up short in his previous bout.
“They’re treating me like if I were coming off a win,” Vera said. “I’m fighting co-main event with someone who’s in the rankings, so obviously it was a robbery of a defeat. It still sets you a few steps down, but what the UFC is giving me is if I were coming off a victory. So I’m happy, and I’m going to recover what was taken from me last time.”
O’Malley has been beefing online with other fighter in the buildup to UFC 252. Vera said he doesn’t care if “Sugar” is underestimating him and finds it silly that top-ranked fighters are engaging with responding to O’Malley comments.
“I couldn’t give a sh*t if he’s underestimating me or not,” Vera said. “I don’t care what he thinks or does. What does matter is that Saturday, he’s going to have me in front of him and not those idiots that are replying to him, giving him fame and credibility.
“If I’m on top, why am I going to be trash-talking someone below me? It doesn’t have logic. The champion, himself, is replying to him. People need to use their brain a little more, but it seems they’re stupid because if I’m the champion and someone if the top-15 is talking sh-t, I’m obviously going to keep an eye on him and be ready for him, but I’m not going to be replying to someone who’s far from fighting for the title. But to each to their own. Thanks to them for making this fight bigger for me.”
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