Hearing that name, Vera said he immediately agreed. But then there were some unpleasant complications.
“Petr Yan, that fat c***, declined the fight because he was eating pizza in Italy, and he said, ‘Oh, I don’t have time to make the weight or I don’t have time to prepare,’” Yan said Monday on The MMA Hour. “If I’m that easy money, why don’t you just say, ‘F*** it, I finish my slice and kick your ass.’ But he declined the fight — he said he wants to fight in November, October, so I was like, ‘You ain’t that cool to [wait] for you, buddy.’ So I was like, I want action. I want to fight. I want to make money. Let’s go. They went, ‘Well, he declined, you want to fight Dominick Cruz?’ I was like, sure, why not?
“Why am I going to lie? There’s no lies. When you speak the truth, you don’t need to remember anything. So yeah, that’s what happened. That’s not s*** talking. He just didn’t have the time. He was doing a little trip in Europe. Good for him, dude. Good for him.”
Vera is now scheduled to face ex-champ Cruz on Saturday at UFC San Diego, while Yan is scheduled to meet Sean O’Malley at UFC 280 in his first fight since a failed bid to retake the title from champ Aljamain Sterling at UFC 273. Cruz is not a matchup Vera is mad at, though he concedes the UFC commentator and fighter may be a slightly less attractive option.
“Just as equal,” Vera said about the comparison between Cruz and Yan. “There’s no better, no less. Dominick’s a little older, let’s keep it real. He probably won’t keep up the way Yan will.
“But it’s still a fist fight, dude. You can break your pinky and you’re f*****. A cut can change a fight. So I’m not thinking this is going to be any easier. I’m f****** waking up every day thinking this is going to be the hardest, bloodiest fight of my life, but I think that about every single guy.”
Before they were booked to meet in San Diego, Vera repeatedly targeted Cruz for the same reason as Yan, criticizing him for not accepting his callout. In return, Cruz pointed out his ranking and stressed his personal matchmaking decisions were centered on higher-ranked opponents and favorable dates for his preperation.
With a three-fight winning streak that included a highlight-reel knockout of ex-champ Frankie Edgar and decision over top contender Rob Font, Vera gained the bargaining chip he’d long sought against Cruz, pulling ahead of the ex-champ by three places in the UFC’s top 15. In the MMA Fighting Global Rankings, the gap is even bigger at four spots: Vera is No. 7 while Cruz is No. 11.
Either way, Vera is finally getting the matchups he wants in order to capture titles. If he defeats Cruz on Saturday, it may not be long before he’s facing the winner of the upcoming fight between O’Malley vs. Yan fight at UFC 280.