UFC bantamweight Marlon Vera has urged his fellow bantamweights to stop giving Sean O’Malley the attention he so desperately craves by ignoring him.
O’Malley has called out just about everyone in the division and the 25-year-old recently got into a spat with former champ Cody Garbrandt, who seemed to take the bait.
Vera, who is scheduled to take on O’Malley at UFC 252, says Garbrandt should simply ignore O’Malley and stop allowing the No. 14-ranked bantamweight to get inside his head.
“Every time these kooks are talking to us or whatever and we answer, that’s on us, that’s our fault. Why are you answering them? Every time you answer to somebody you make them happy,” Vera said on a recent episode of What the Heck (h/t MMA Fighting’s Alexander K. Lee).
“But these are guys in the top-five. What an idiot, answering to O’Malley that is lower in the rankings. He’s like, what, [ranked No. 14] right now? Why are you guys talking back to him? The more you talk back to him, the cooler he is because the big boys are talking back to the kid. It’s common sense. I don’t know. If we’re gonna fight, just wait until the fight. Talk a little sh*t, have fun, but those guys are mad. A lot of people are mad about him. You’re already losing, you’re mad about it. You want to talk sh*t? Okay, cool. Guess what, if we’re face to face, then it changes. He doesn’t say nothing face to face, I saw him face to face, or in the elevator. I was like, ‘Are you gonna say something?’ You’ve always got to be ready, you don’t know what the people’s energy is around you. I don’t care. If the bantamweight guys are cheering for me, cool; if not, f**k off, I want to beat them anyways.”
Vera, who is 5-1 in his last six fights, believes O’Malley is overhyped but knows a win over the undefeated bantamweight will be great for his own career.
“This is just how I feel, I could be right or wrong, but he hasn’t fought nobody—I say this not to start sh*t talk—but it’s real,” Vera said. “The last couple of guys he fought, they haven’t done anything. He beat [Eddie Wineland] who’s past his prime multiple years ago, he’s been not fighting really. He’s coming in with one win against a newcomer and it took him a lot of damage to win the fight.
“If you do the math, he needs to fight somebody like me to stay relevant and guess what, I’m not even in the rankings. If I’m in the rankings, I wouldn’t call out somebody that’s not in the rankings just to prove myself. I’m looking forward, I want to fight somebody ahead of me. But everybody’s different, so at the end of the day, they offer the fight and I’m like why not, f**k it. The guy has a number next to his name, it’s good for me.”
UFC 252, which will feature O’Malley vs. Vera in the co-main event, takes place this Saturday, Aug. 15 at the UFC APEX Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.