San Antonio, TX – With the recent rise in Latino champions in the UFC, bantamweight Marlon Vera looks to make his way to a title in 2023 and join the likes of Brandon Moreno, Alexa Grasso and Yair Rodriguez at the top of the division.
“It’s a huge motivation. I think Brandon got the belt right before my Davey Grant fight. He just make me happy to see like it’s reachable. Guys like I know get there. Now Yair that I’m actually, I know him a little more I was a little closer to him, get the interim belt too. Which a belt is a belt, he’s a champion right now,” Vera told reporters on Wednesday.
“Seeing people succeeding makes me want to succeed even more. Made me want to take it more seriously. Keep getting better because it’s right there. You are right there. Might as well keep going.”
Joining Moreno, Grasso and Rodriguez as a champion is something “Chito” Vera would absolutely want to do in 2023.
“100%. It’s still Latin America. It’s still like a Spanish-speaking country. I want to become a world champion and join them in that list because that’s making history. That will be forever in the history books, whoever gets that belt,” he said.
This Saturday night he faces Cory Sandhagen in the main event of UFC San Antonio in a highly-anticipated bout between two top 5 bantamweights.
“It’s just another day at the office. It’s another fight, a different man in front of me, and I’m ready to go. I put a lot of time in this preparation and Saturday will come and I’m ready to f*ck sh*t up,” Vera said.
“Just the fact there is a guy that is preparing himself to beat me up. I’ve got to be worried about it. I wake up every morning thinking you know there’s a lot of job to get done. It doesn’t really matter who’s in front of me. I focus on just getting better and I’ve been showing that fight to fight.”
With the bantamweight title picture clearing up now that the champion Aljamain Sterling has a challenger in former title holder Henry Cejudo the rest of the division is lining up to fight for a chance at the next title shot.
“The way that the rankings are done it’s really hard to predict things. You’ve got (Sean) O’Malley number one after he beat (Petr) Yan. Now you’ve got Merab (Dvalishvili) number one after he beat Yan. Yan wasn’t number one his last fight and you beat the guy and you go to number one,” said Vera.
“It really doesn’t f*cking matter. You can be number 10 and fight for the title. It’s whatever the f*ck the UFC wants to do at this point. I’m ok with that because I’m putting in work, I’m winning the way they want wins. Then the fans are cheering for me. There’s a reason (this fight) is in front in an arena. There’s a reason I’m fighting three main events in a row. I’ll just keep making money.”
With the money come wins, higher rankings and eventually a title shot.
“Eventually the belt will come to me because you know the harder you chase things they might go away from you. I’m just going with the flow,” he said.
“I know I’m working hard so I’m not worried about anything.”
Watch the entire media day scrum with Marlon “Chito” Vera above. He takes on Cory Sandhagen in the main event of UFC San Antonio on Saturday night.