After having gone the distance in his bout against Guangyou Ning and then into the third round versus Brad Pickett in his two previous fights, picking up a first-round submission victory over Brian Kelleher at UFC on Fox 25 on July 22 was exactly what bantamweight Marlon “Chito” Vera was looking for.
“I’m pretty happy with the performance,” Vera told MMAWeekly.com. “All the hard work in the gym (paid off). I’m just happy and am looking forward to what is next.
“It just happened because of all the time I put into the gym, I’m getting better and better all the time. My work ethic is paying off. I know a lot of BJJ black belts who are getting better and better, and with my skills I am getting better everywhere.”
The fight against Kelleher was also the first time in three bouts that Vera was fighting at 135 pounds. While he’s gone heavier recently, he feels that’s the weight class he wants to stay at if at all possible.
“I think I’m a natural 135er,” said Vera. “I don’t weigh more than 150-poundss, 155-poundss, so I’m kind of a small (135er). I cut like 10 pounds in a day, overnight, and it’s easy. I feel pretty healthy when I’m fighting. But if a good opportunity came up for me (at featherweight) I would take that too.”
Now sporting a three-fight winning streak, Vera has a couple of ideas of what he’d like to do next, but he’s open to whatever opportunity the UFC provides him.
“I’m healthy and feel really good, so I’m sure I can come back anytime soon,” Vera said. “There are a couple of fights that would make sense for me. I feel I can get somebody from the Top 15.
“I was hoping to fight (Jimmie) Rivera, but he’s pretty high, so it might be hard to get a fight against him. Whatever I can take, I will take. Brett Johns was calling me out, so if the UFC wants to make that fight, there’s no reason to not to. I would like to fight some ground fighters, but I will fight anybody.”