Marvin Vettori was busy training for his UFC 256 fight with Jacare Souza when he got the call to face Jack Hermansson in the main event at UFC Vegas 16 this weekend.
“I gave it a quick thought, to making weight, then I was like ‘f*ck it! Let’s do it,'” Vettori (15-4-1) said during the UFC Vegas 16 media day on Thursday. “I was super happy to accept it. First of all, it’s a bigger opportunity, higher ranked guy.”
Plus, it shaved a week off his camp. “It was perfect to me. I was already in very good shape. That week would have just been a week of keeping myself that way, but with the risk of catching things, and making adjustments to training.”
When it comes to the two opponents, the similarity is clearly the ground game. But Vettori sees Souza as having been the bigger threat there. “I’ve got more submissions than Jack, to be honest,” he stated.
“Jack Hermansson brings a little bit more energy to the fight. It’s more high energy, the way he fights. Jacare was a little bit more aware of his energy management throughout the fight,” Vettori explained. “To be honest, I was a little more worried about Jacare’s ground game than Hermansson. Overall, I train on a daily basis with world-level jiu-jitsu competitors. Jack Hermansson doesn’t even know what top-level jiu-jitsu competitors are.” His opponent might have trained top jiu-jitsu guys, Vettori added, but definitely not on a daily basis.
“Everything that Jack Hermansson does, I do it better. I’m not going to underestimate him because he’s definitely a solid guy, he’s number four for a reason,” stated Vettori. “But I don’t fear him anywhere.”
When it comes to taking the short-notice headlining spot, “they say it’s better to be ready for an opportunity that doesn’t come than not be ready for an opportunity that eventually comes,” Vettori observed. The 27-year old added that “I was ready, they gave me a call, I gave them an answer. That’s what it is, man. I’m ready, and when I’m ready, I don’t care who’s in there. Obviously, the higher ranked, the better.”
Vettori’s last fight was a grudge match with Karl Roberson. On the surface, things feel calmer between Hermansson and Vettori. But while the Italian has “got nothing against” the Swede, “we came up together in a sense. We fought on the same show a couple times outside the UFC. I saw him coming up, he saw me coming up. We’re both hungry,” said Vettori. “Of course, I don’t have to disrespect him. But with Jacare, I had a little bit more of— in the fight, nothing would have changed. But I’ll go face-to-face and talk to [Hermansson] a little bit. Let’s see what he’s about.”
Asked if he fought better with a chip on his shoulder, some fire under him, Vettori admitted that “I like it, but there’s fire in this one, there’s a chip on my shoulder in this one. Being the main event, there’s that extra pressure.” With so much going on, “it’s not that I need necessarily that kind of, I wouldn’t call it a beef, but extra animosity.”
That having been said, Vettori hasn’t seen Hermansson yet during Fight Week. “I want to see him, and look him in the eyes. I want to see him.”
Marvin Vettori faces Jack Hermansson in the main event of UFC Vegas 16 (UFC on ESPN 19) this Saturday, December 5 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada.