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Marlon Vera: ‘Dry as a tomato’ Aljamain Sterling won ‘fair and square’ at UFC 280

For Marlon Vera, Aljamain Sterling’s UFC 280 title defense over T.J. Dillashaw was no fluke.

Aljamain Sterling batters T.J. Dillashaw with punches during their UFC 280 title fight.
Aljamain Sterling batters T.J. Dillashaw with punches during their UFC 280 title fight.
Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Aljamain Sterling defended the undisputed bantamweight title at UFC 280 against T.J. Dillashaw two weekends ago via TKO. The other side of that story is that Dillashaw entered the bout with a compromised left shoulder, which for some, may have taken a bit away from Sterling’s win.

Number four-ranked 135-pounder Marlon Vera, however, sees no issue with how “Funkmaster” won the bout.

“Nothing taken away from Aljamain. He won fair and square. T.J. came injured, but he came to fight. If he were to pull it off he would be a hero right now, but shit happens. His shoulder came out and sad for him, but the champion kept the belt, and good for him,” he said during a recent appearance on the MMA Hour.

“Aljamain won the belt, fair and square. If your shoulder came out, if your nose came out, if your hair came out, who the f–k cares? He won the fight, period.”

“Chito” is likely one of the next names in line to challenge “Funkmaster.” And while he recognizes the legitimacy of Sterling’s win, he isn’t that much of a fan, personality-wise.

“He called me out right after the fight. Just put it like that, he was talking mad shit about T.J., right? About EPO and drugs and blah, blah, blah, and then after the fight he’s like, ‘I respect you,’ and almost like sucking his dick, so who are you?

“Either you’re real, you’re a mean guy, or you’re nice. Just pick a side, you know? I just keep it real. I say my thoughts about you, I say what I want to do to you, but after the fight I’m not trying to best friend, but I’m also not putting you down. Win, lose, or draw. You can see it since the beginning of my career. I just keep it real.

“The guy called me out, the guy tweeted out me directly on Saturday night, it’s going to be hard to forget. He’s a weird guy. He has no personality, he’s dry as a tomato, can’t crack a joke, so he’s probably trying to be too cool for his own — but again, I don’t give a f–k. If we see each other one day, I’ll make sure he will remember.”

The 29-year-old Vera (20-7-1) is coming off the biggest win of his career at UFC San Diego in August when he knocked out former champion Dominick Cruz with a head kick in the fourth round.