Marlon Vera thinks a title shot is inevitable but sees no use in wasting energy trying to beg for one.
The UFC bantamweight division is home to some of the most exciting fighters in the organization. The entire top five could be worthy of a title fight right now. Unfortunately for these top men at 135 pounds, a familiar face and former champion has dibs on the next shot at champion Aljamain Sterling. Henry Cejudo is making a comeback to try his hand at reclaiming that UFC championship. The exact date of that bout is yet to be determined, but the rest of the top five in the division are all looking to set themselves up nicely for when it is their turn.
Number four-ranked Marlon Vera is making sure that his spot is secure. He will be fighting Cory Sandhagen on Feb 18th and in turn, might put a choke hold on that coveted title contender spot.
Marlon Vera believes the UFC wants him to hold the belt in the future
Vera has strung together four wins in the bantamweight division. He knows that his career is on the uptick and has no worries about rushing his future. He is taking opportunities while they are coming even if that means not receiving a title shot right away. Vera was a guest on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani and spoke about this and more.
“I really believe deep down in my heart I’m gonna be a world champion,” he said. “I’m gonna hold the UFC belt one day. I’m in a rush? No, dude, I’m f–king 30 years old, I just turned 30, I got my best years ahead of me. Just keep doing what got you here, which is consistent work. We all have a different path. Some people talk their way in. Some people kick their way. It’s just a matter of time until I get the belt. I know. The world knows it. I know the UFC knows it. I know it. So I know they do. I do know for a matter of fact, they f-ck with me. I’m talking about the UFC. They like me, they do want me to hold the bell. So I’m like, why get all crazy?”
Vera is going into his third main event in a row. This one will be in the UFC Apex arena. When asked if the location bothered him, instead of fighting in front of a crowd, Vera replied no. He is focused on the mission at hand, beating Sandhagen.
“I’m going into my third main event in a row, it’s pretty historical for an Ecuadorian,” he said. “I came from places where people don’t get to live this life. I got kind of like joy from seeing the fruit I’m collecting from planting those seeds since I started this, and it’s pretty f–king crazy. Seeing where I am, seeing what I’m doing. I’m number four in the world, I’m gonna be in the history books. I’m gonna be one day in the Hall of Fame. And I want to be a world champion one day, so those things give me a pure, genuinely nice joy that the other little thing, like the petty sh-t, I don’t really pay too much attention.”
Although Vera is confident that his time will come, he is also realistic. he accepts the fact that Cejudo is jumping the line and he may have to wait. He said if Sean O’Malley gets the winner of Sterling and Cejudo, then he would take that fight in the fall.