Julian Marquez wants everyone to know that he has the whole Miley Cyrus situation under control.
“The Cuban Missile Crisis” was one of the most talked-about fighters of UFC 258 weekend—arguably garnering more mainstream attention than even victorious welterweight champion Kamaru Usman—after issuing a romantic callout to Cyrus following a dramatic, come-from-behind win against Maki Pitolo.
More surprising that Marquez’s post-fight ode to Cyrus was the fact that she actually responded late that evening, daring Marquez to shave her initials into his chest and referring to Marquez as “my love.” Marquez responded with a challenge of his own, asking Cyrus to get a henna tattoo of his nickname on her mid-section, which prompted the MMA social media sphere to wonder if he’d whiffed at his chance to woo a world-famous celebrity.
But Marquez is telling everyone to relax and that everyone is reading on the internet might not be the whole story.
“First and foremost, there’s a lot more going on than you think, than you guys know,” Marquez told MMA Fighting on What the Heck. “I did that—It’s just, it’s working. A gentleman doesn’t speak. A gentleman doesn’t tell their secrets. I’m a gentleman. But I didn’t blow my shot.”
It was Marquez’s temerity that caught Cyrus’ eye in the first place and he’s not making any apologies for his brash reply. If anything, he’s doubling down on his bet that Cyrus will appreciate the bold gesture.
He also teased an announcement regarding his and Cyrus’ plans.
“The difference between me and everybody else is I’m always gonna be me and I’m always gonna be who I am no matter what is in front of me, no matter who’s in front of me, no matter what it is,” Marquez said. “The thing is, I’m not going to change who I am for anybody else, I’m going to be me and a lot of people love me and a lot of people enjoy me. If I wasn’t me, then this callout for Miley on my Valentine’s Day would never have happened. That’s being normal, that’s me being me, this is me 100 percent if you know me.
“The thing is, is that when I sat there, I know Miley loves Tupac. Miley loves artists. I did that as a joke, I thought it was funny, it was great, and it went back. It’s Miley Cyrus, of course everybody wants to sit there and say, ‘I’ll do this, I’ll do that.’ No, I’m going to give you my real personality and she loved it. She loves me, you know what I mean? That’s the thing, everybody else if she tells you to do this, you’re gonna do that, and there’s a lot of things. The MC is gonna get shaved into my chest, but we’re working on something real fun that we’re gonna announce here shortly that you guys are all gonna love. It can’t just happen like that, it’s gotta build itself up.”
Amusingly, Marquez was one of the last to hear about Cyrus getting back to him. He was sleeping when Cyrus tweeted in his direction—the message went out at around 1:30 a.m. early Sunday in Las Vegas—and thought there was some kind of emergency when he woke up to an avalanche of messages.
“It was amazing,” Marquez said. “I actually was asleep and everybody was calling me, waking me up, I thought something happened, which it did. It’s amazing. She messaged me back and we’re riding. We’re just riding together, that’s it.”
Marquez has been riding with Cyrus long before their connection became a reality. During fight week, Marquez said he was planning to walk out to Cyrus’ cover of Blondie’s Heart of Glass and he did so on Saturday, singing and dancing his way down to the octagon.
Make no mistake, this is not a recent obsession for Marquez. He describes himself as a lifelong Cyrus fan, which essentially left him no choice but to go through with his tribute to her before the fight.
“If you’re a Miley fan, you know that ya love her,” Marquez said. “You’re either with her or you’re not. I’ve always loved her, ever since I was growing up. Her music’s amazing. We partied to a lot of the music that we had and it’s always just club bangers, just always put you in a good mood. You never listen to a Miley song and hate it. 100 percent, you’ve never done that. And everyone knew it. I can’t even explain why I just kept growing to it and I ended up getting concerts. People would buy me tickets to her concerts and give them to me as gifts and I would go to all of her concerts and enjoy it. I loved it.
“Then when I announced Heart of Glass, like I would walk out if you brought it to the streaming device, everyone was kind of like, ‘Let’s go, let’s go, let’s do it. You better walk out to it.’ Everybody kind of piled up together and I was like, alright. Since all eyes are on me, let me shoot my shot, I’m gonna take it. And it’s been successful. Miley knows who I am, Miley followed me, Miley’s practically in love with me and I’m winning.”
The feverish support of Cyrus doesn’t always lead to rainbows and friendship though, as Marquez’s fellow UFC fighter Matt Brown discovered. “The Immortal” made the mistake of questioning Marquez’s Valentine’s Day callout, which resulted in Brown claiming that he received death threats from Cyrus’ legion of fans.
Marquez jumped to Brown’s defense, explaining that he didn’t think Brown meant to be insulting and that he’s been getting his own fair share of heat from Cyrus acolytes after he proposed she tattoo herself for him.
I like what I like— Julian marquez (@JMarquezMMA) February 14, 2021
“He didn’t say Miley wasn’t attractive,” Marquez said. “He tweeted like, ‘Out of all the people, why’d you pick Miley, like what the f*ck?’ He put, ‘WTF?’ He doesn’t understand we’re in a different era and everything like that. I was like, ‘I like what I like,’ but everybody else just went crazy on him, which is hilarious.
“But I understand. Miley fans are hardcore. You can see they’re pissed off at me for not doing what she said, but it’s okay.”
Pressed on what was next for him and Cyrus, Marquez wouldn’t confirm how far their communication has extended them beyond their public statements, if it all. Staying coy, Marquez simply said to keep an eye out for that announcement.
“I got something working, don’t worry,” Marquez said. “We’ll announce it.”
“Just know you will have a big smile on your face,” he added.
UPDATE: The announcement is in.
On Tuesday afternoon, Marquez posted on Twitter that he is working with Barstool Sports to provide donations for a COVID relief fund (link in tweet below). The plan is for Marquez to shave Cyrus’ initials into his chest when a donation target is reached.
See Marquez’s statement below:
So grateful for everyone’s support since UFC 258 on Saturday and I really wanna pay it forward. If you wanna see Miley Cyrus’ Valentine’s Day wish come true, follow the link to donate to The Barstool Fund. Once we hit our target for Barstool’s small business COVID relief fund, I’m breaking out the clippers and making America’s sweetheart’s dream come true. Super excited to collaborate with such a great foundation for an awesome cause, so follow the link and let’s get donating!