Marlon “Chito” Vera doesn’t really understand the politics involved in picking fights.
While he’s considered an elite bantamweight in the UFC, the former Ultimate Fighter: Latin America contender didn’t see a need to complain when he was matched up against an unranked opponent in his last fight where he defeated Davey Grant by decision.
He was just happy for the opportunity to compete again.
According to Vera, he’s never really seen a reason to turn down an opponent even as certain fighters have passed on facing him — apparently including former UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz.
“The initial plan was me and [Dominick] Cruz on Oct. 30,” Vera revealed on The MMA Hour. “I guess Cruz was looking for something bigger, brighter and nicer but the matchmaking, it’s almost perfect.
“There’s nobody available right now. Whatever. I said this before and I’ll say it again, I don’t chase no man. I’m not desperate to fight anybody.”
When Cruz passed on the fight, Vera was left without an opponent, but he immediately shifted his focus towards a potential matchup against former UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar instead.
At the time, the UFC had other plans for Edgar.
“I’m a fighter. You pay me. It doesn’t matter if it’s No. 100 or No. 2, if you pay me, I fight,” Vera said. “Well that fight fell through, he didn’t take it and they told me ‘hey look, Frankie’s another good fight but we have different plans.’ And they told me about it, this is the fight that was offered to [Sean] O’Malley. I was like cool, whatever. What I can do about it?
“I’ve been training pretty consistently. I’ve been in shape for any date. I told them, if you ask me I’ll fight anybody in the top five. I’ll fight anybody in the top 10, because of course you understood you get a big reward. I was hey, to not make your job harder, you want me to fight a f*cking unranked guy, whatever, let’s go. I want to fight. I want to be active.”
The situation changed when O’Malley ultimately passed on the fight against Edgar and the UFC revisted the matchup by offering the opportunity to Vera instead.
Truth be told, he didn’t really care much about the date, location or the opponent — “Chito” was just ready to fight.
“I don’t like this one fight a year,” Vera said. “I like three or four at least. I guessing the closer you get to the top, the harder it is to get you the right fights. You know what? Cool just call me with a name. I don’t make your job harder. I’m not here trying to play this diva thing like you’ve got to pay this for me. I’m going to make the money. Give me enough fights so I can earn my money.
“They told me ‘hey, this fight might fall through, you want it?’ They didn’t even ask me. They sent me the papers.”
Now that he’s booked the fight against Edgar at UFC 268, Vera is just excited to get back to work doing what he loves the most and he believes more athletes should follow his lead.
“We are f*cking fighters,” Vera said. “Why are they so sensitive? Like they are little b*tches like ‘oh you called me out.’ F*ck off. Man up and just do your f*cking job. They call me and I’m like f*ck yeah, bro, I appreciate you.
“What Dana [White] says is true. This is not a f*cking job. This is a f*cking opportunity. What 600 fighters on the whole roster? F*cking live life, enjoy it. Stop complaining and start making.”