As dark horses come, none seem more threatening than Ecuador’s Marlon “Chito” Vera. “Chito” has reached new levels of fame since finishing Sean O’Malley in August 2020, combined with vicious finishes over big names such as Frankie Edgar and Dominick Cruz.
Winning eight of his last ten bouts, No. 3 ranked Vera is now within touching distance of a UFC bantamweight title shot, and the one man standing in his way of title contention is the No. 5 ranked Cory Sandhagen.
Vera appeared as a part of the UFC San Antonio media day to address reporters about his thoughts, feelings, and motivations on the Sandhagen fight.
Marlon Vera Stays Resolute: ‘I’m Ready to Go’
“It’s another day at the office; another fight; a different man in front of me and I’m ready to go,” Vera stays nonchalant. “I have put a lot of time and preparation [into this fight], and [I will come on Saturday], and I’m ready to f*ck sh*t up.”
Vera last fought Dominick Cruz, where apart from being knocked down several times, Cruz was soundly winning on points before Vera finished the fight. Many fans are drawing comparisons between the in-and-out fighting styles of Cruz and Sandhagen, and one reporter asked Vera if he had any concerns or was aware of any similarities between his previous opponent (Cruz) and his upcoming adversary (Sandhagen) on March 25.
Vera replied, “It’s a guy that is preparing himself to beat me up, I gotta be worried about it, you know? I wake up every morning, thinking, you know, [there is a lot of work to be done]. So it doesn’t really matter who’s in front of me, I focus on just getting better and I’ve been showing that [from fight to fight].”
Marlon Vera’s Mindset Entering Leading to The Cory Sandhagen Fight
“I have zero plans before I fight on [March 25]; there’s no meal I’m thinking about; there’s no drink I’m thinking about; there’s nothing I want to get after the fight. My life, It’s pretty much stopped until the moment before the fight. Then, I go in there and [I’m] basically fighting for my life; for my future; for my family. And then we’ll figure it out later.”
“Is that always the way you approach a fight, or is this one special?” The reporter continues. Vera is well-known for having an extremely disciplined approach to his fights, going as far as forcing visceral hatred for his opponents in order to motivate himself.
Vera takes a deep breath, “Yeah man, I feel like when people start looking past things, and they start looking at [what they want next or] this is who I want to fight… f*ck, you can’t predict fighting, you know what I’m saying? Even if you get to [Conor McGregor’s] level, [and you predict maybe three of your fights], you can’t predict forever. So, fighting is gnarly, so I f*cking take it seriously, because [you can get ahead] in a fight, but it’s still a f*cking fight, It’s not a game.”
Vera doesn’t underestimate any of his opponents, and given the stakes behind this fight, it could be the most motivated “Chito” we’re yet to see, which should be a scary thought for any active UFC bantamweight. Stay tuned for all-out action at UFC San Antonio on March 25.