Marlon Vera is fine with being called out. But his first priority is fighting as much as he can and he’s not going to let any opponent dictate his schedule.
That includes up-and-coming bantamweight Nathaniel Wood, who has long craved an Octagon meeting with “Chito” and was thrilled when his name was mentioned by the Ecuadorian following Vera’s win over Frankie Saenz at UFC Nashville. It was a follow-up to a previous call-out by Wood, one that was motivated by Wood wanting to avenge a loss that his coach, Brad Pickett, took against Vera back in March 2017.
Wood, a former Cage Warriors champion with three submission victories in his first three UFC appearances, recently told MMA Fighting that he’d like to face Vera in August after taking some time to travel. That’s a dealbreaker for Vera and he let his thoughts be known on the matter in not-so-delicate terms.
“That’s too late. If I wait until August, there’s so many fights that can happen before then,” Vera recently said to MMA Fighting. “So if he wants to fight at that specific time, as I say before, he can go and f*ck himself. I’m fighting soon, I want to be active, I want to keep getting better, keep adding weapons to my game.
“If he wants to wait until August because his lazy ass wants to eat shit and be fat, that’s fine with him, but I’m fighting sooner than that and then after that I can catch him in August. Let’s make me win a fight, focus on that, and if everything goes right we can meet each other in August, but I’m not worried about nobody.”
Vera’s post-fight response to Wood’s challenge was uncharacteristic for him, given his reputation as a company man who rarely has any public complaints. In fact, Vera is critical of fighters going to social media to make demands.
For himself, he simply doesn’t like the idea of floating a fight out there and then seeing it go up in smoke, as has happened to him in the past. Vera was actually in talks to fight top-10 contender Jimmie Rivera back in January 2017, but Rivera chose not to sign on for the bout, speaking as if he was out of Vera’s league. Currently, Vera and Rivera are trending in opposite directions and that’s a matchup Vera would like to see officially booked sometime.
Though as usual, he’s keeping his slate clear.
“I really don’t like to be asking for fights or calling people, because if those fights don’t happen, then it’s all a mess,” Vera said. “I will take anybody they can give me. The sooner we talk the better, but I’m not picky.
“If my coach agrees with the fight, I will fight anybody because in order to be in the top you’ve got to fight everybody, every style, and don’t be picky, and don’t be a bitch.”
Rivera would like to book a fight in July for International Fight Week, but he’s also interested in the UFC 238 card in Chicago on June 8. If things work out, he could still fight Wood later this year. It’s a matchup that he’d gladly take, even if Wood claims otherwise.
“The UFC never offered me a fight with him, so if he says I didn’t want to fight, you know, whatever,” Vera said. “I will give him the chance to put his name out there, and talk about himself, I will take the fight when the UFC gives it to me. He can say whatever he wants, but at the end of the day it’s either him or any other person.
“If the UFC wants to make it, I will take it if my coaches are happy with it. If not, he can go f*ck himself.”