Marlon Vera wants the one that got away.
Thirty months after the fight was originally offered, Vera (15-5-1 MMA, 9-4 UFC) believes it’s finally time to square off with Jimmie Rivera (22-4 MMA, 6-3 UFC).
In January 2017, “Chito” was briefly linked to a bantamweight bout against Rivera at UFC Fight Night 103. After Bryan Caraway pulled out of the event due to injury, “Chito” was aligned to step in.
However, Rivera declined the bout and cited Vera’s standing in the division. Rivera also said he didn’t want to hurt “Chito” or take money away from Vera’s daughter, who was struggling with health issues at the time.
Almost three years later, Vera wants to settle some unfinished business.
“I want Jimmie Rivera – I want to run this back,” Vera told MMA Junkie. “I feel of all the ranked guys it’s the perfect fight. We were supposed to fight. The fight was announced. He pulled out with some dumb sort of excuse.
“I’m not mad or upset, but I want to fight. I feel like that’s the easiest fight, not because the guy is easy. It’s easy to get because we already were scheduled to fight before. We can run it back.”
Since joining the UFC in 2014, Vera has been very open about his personal life. A family man, Vera publicly outlined his daughter’s struggle with Mobius syndrome, a rare neurological condition.
Vera said he wasn’t fazed by Rivera’s comments at the time, and that’s still the case now. Words are words, but Vera said he can use his actions inside the cage to take out Rivera once and for all.
“I’m an emotional person when it comes to family,” Vera said. “But in the sport, I have absolutely no feelings. You can say the worst. You can say gross things about my family. I’ll probably laugh because I can’t control what another man says. So I don’t really give an (expletive) about that.
“I’m sure about one thing: I will end his career. He’s done and he’s old, but he’s got a good number next to his name. It will be so sweet to take it away from him and be there.”
Vera’s callout comes on the heels of Rivera having lost three out of his four most recent fights. After starting off his career 21-1, Rivera was knocked out by Marlon Moraes in June 2018. After a win against John Dodson in September 2018, Rivera lost back-to-back decisions to Aljamain Sterling and Petr Yan.
While he credits Rivera for taking on such tough matchups, Vera thinks his momentum and abilities will be too much for “El Terror.” A fight somewhere between November and February is what Vera is aiming for. Now there’s no “excuse” for Rivera to use to turn down the fight, said Vera.
“He’s fought tough guys, but I see how works,” Vera said. “They were even fights until he breaks. He doesn’t have the dog inside him any more. At this point, I will go back to him. A couple years ago he said he was too much for me. I was like, ‘Okay. Whatever you want, son.’ Now he’s coming off of three losses in four fights. I’m coming off of five finishes. Now, he can’t say (expletive).
“Now, he has to take it like a man and run it back. Don’t be a (expletive), Jimmie.”
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Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie
Read the full article here: Marlon Vera calls out Jimmie Rivera: 'I will end his career' if failed 2017 bout is booked