SAN DIEGO – Maybe Marlon Vera had a problem with Dominick Cruz at some point during the build-up to UFC on ESPN 41. But just days until they’re locked inside the octagon, that apparently is no longer the case.
“No emotions,” Vera said Wednesday at media day. “Cold blooded.”
Vera (21-7-1 MMA, 13-6 UFC) takes a three-fight winning streak into Saturday night’s main event at Pechanga Arena, a pivotal clash between ranked UFC bantamweights, and he looks forward to using Cruz (24-3 MMA, 7-2 UFC), a former two-time champion, as a springboard for his own title aspirations.
Vera said he’d been offered to fight Cruz before, but Cruz turned it down three times before they were booked for UFC on ESPN 41.
“The reason? I don’t know. I don’t care,” Vera said. “So I just made that public: ‘Hey, guys, I got offered a fight, he declined.’ Tagged him, talk sh*t or whatever. Who knows? I’m fun on Twitter. When I saw him face to face, I was like, ‘Hey, if you want to fight, let’s fight.’ I just keep it real. I’m not just gonna walk and sucker punch you. I’m not a b*tch. But if you give me the wrong energy, I’m sure we’re fighting.”
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As far as anything bad he’s said before about Cruz, Vera simply chalks it up to his general approach to fighting.
“I just speak the truth. I keep it real,” Vera said. “I don’t think fighting is a pretty thing. I’m not here to shake hands or bow to each other. If I want that, I would go to any other sport. But I like to fight. … I ain’t mad at nobody. I really have no emotions to anyone I ever fought. When they give me a contract with a name, and we get locked in the cage, I want to f*ck you up. Simple.”
For Cruz, a native of San Diego, this is a home game. But it’s possible that with the city’s large Hispanic population, Vera could be cheered in what would normally be considered enemy territory.
It wouldn’t surprise “Chito.”
“I’m always cheered,” Vera said. “The way I fight, people love it. I get it: I’m in San Diego. But I’m sure there’s a lot of Ecuadorians here. There’s a lot of Ecuadorians in L.A. But again, at the end of the day, it doesn’t f*cking matter. The cage is locked, it’s me vs. him, boos or hoorays, f*ck it. It’s a fight.”
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC on ESPN 41.