With sights set on competing in the Octagon once more before the turn of the year – streaking bantamweight contender, Marlon ‘Chito’ Vera also a few opponents in mind who could stand opposite him in either November or December.
The surging Ecuadorian is fresh from an opening-round knockout win over ‘Sugar’ Sean O’Malley at UFC 252 in August – finishing the Montana native with ground-and-pound after an earlier leg kick caused an injury to the then-undefeated finisher.
The victory marked Vera’s return to the winner’s enclosure, following a featherweight outing opposite Song Yadong where he dropped a dubious unanimous decision defeat. Despite the loss at 145-pounds – Vera still holds an eye-catching six-fight unbeaten run at bantamweight.
Speaking with MMA Junkie reporter, Danny Segura – Vera noted his intentions to score his third Octagon walk of the year in either November or at the latest, December – and gave open invitations to former world champions, Dominick Cruz, José Aldo, and division mainstay, Jimmie Rivera.
“I’m just waiting for the UFC call, but I want to fight sometime in November, the latest December,” Vera said. “I don’t want it to go any longer than that. I’m ready. I’m prepared. I want to fight, make money, move up the rankings and keep at it.”
“The division is interesting, and it’s getting better as time goes by,” Vera explained. “I would like to fight against Dominick (Cruz), Jimmie Rivera or José Aldo. I think one of those three is the fight that makes sense for me and would do me well. I really want one of those three. We’ll see what the UFC gives me, but I think those are the fights to make.”
For Vera, a pairing with any of the above trio would see him fighting up the rankings, where he currently sits at #15 in the official bantamweight pile.
Former two-time bantamweight best, Cruz last featured at UFC 249 in May on short-notice, dropping a late second-round knockout defeat to then-champion, Henry Cejudo.
Aldo, who was originally booked to meet Cejudo – tackled current champion, Petr Yan for vacant gold at UFC 251 on ‘Fight Island’ in July – himself dropping a fifth-round knockout after a competitive start. The defeat marked Aldo’s second straight since his move to bantamweight, following a December decision loss to compatriot Marlon Moraes.
Tiger Schulmann product, Rivera returned to the win column at UFC Fight Island 1 in July – securing a unanimous decision win over Cody Stamann after a prior judging loss to bantamweight best, Yan.