UFC 252: Marlon Vera Not Letting O’Malley Get to Him, Skin “Thicker Than His Mom”

Sean O’Malley is known for getting under the skin of opponents. And Marlon Vera has had the better part of a year to contend with that.

The pair were first matched up in July 2019 at UFC 239, only for O’Malley to be forced out due to a drug test failure.

Vera (15-6-1) wound up fighting twice more, defeating Andre Ewell, then losing to Song Yadong. He picked up post-fight bonuses in each appearance.

Now, the original match-up with O’Malley is back on for UFC 252, and the trash talk has flowed. That said, Vera admits his opponent isn’t just all talk.

“I’m going to be honest, I know the guy’s good. I know he has his stuff, he has his style of fighting,” he said during the UFC 252 media day this week. “I cannot underestimate anybody at this point, at this level, because anybody can get shut down. At the end of the day, it’s a hard fight, as any other. I’m going to prepare for that. Saturday night I’m going to come hard, as always. I’m f*cking ready.”

The trash talk isn’t necessary to motivate him, “Chito” added. “All the motivation came from myself, from my heart, from my family. From my team, my coaches, and getting stuff done for me and the people that I love. The rest is just part of the show, part of the business. It’s fun, I enjoy the process, I enjoy all the sh*t talk, answering stuff. But sometimes I don’t f*cking feel like it, I just want to fight.”

That is what really matters to Vera, he said. “What my opponent has to say or not is good, because it fuels the fight, puts us in a good spot but at the end of the day, the cage is going to be locked. And then’s the time that I really have fun, when I’m able to compete and try to f*ck somebody up.”

In an added bit of mental warfare ahead of the fight, Sean O’Malley dyed his hair the colors of the Ecuadorian flag. Vera, of course, hails from the nation. But he’s not even sure what O’Malley is trying to represent with his color choice.

“Honestly I don’t really know. It could be Venezuela, it could be Colombia, it could be Ecuador. He don’t have the logo in that, so I don’t know which country he dyed his hair,” observed Vera. “But good for him. I have yellow, or blonde, I’m supporting all the yellow flags out there.”

So no, the dye job isn’t getting under Vera’s skin. “My skin is thicker than his mom, so I’m good with that. It’s hard to get in my mind.”

And that, ladies and gentleman, might have been the best one-liner throughout all of media day. Maybe we shouldn’t be surprised that it was Vera getting it in. “I was the youngest in the family. I got a lot of bullies, like my brother, everybody. We grew up f*cking a lot with each other.”

Thick skin, quick with a comeback. “Saturday night, my paycheck’s going to grow,” Marlon Vera added.

As to why he dyed his own hair? “Because I was f*cking bored” stuck in quarantine, he stated.

Watch the full UFC 252 media day press scrum with Marlon Vera above.