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Marlon Vera aiming for title shot with ‘a solid win’ over Cory Sandhagen in UFC main event

Could ‘Chito’ finally get a title shot with a win over Sandhagen?

Marlon Vera after UFC San Diego in August 2022.
Marlon Vera after UFC San Diego in August 2022.
Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

Should he defeat Cory Sandhagen in their upcoming fight, Marlon Vera expects to secure his first UFC championship opportunity.

Vera vs. Sandhagen serves as the headliner for UFC Vegas 69. On a four-fight win streak that includes ‘Performance of the Night’ awarded KOs of former champions Frankie Edgar and Dominick Cruz, ‘Chito’ is now closer than ever to a title shot. And with a win over the ’Sandman,’ Vera says it could bolster his case for one.

“A thousand percent, and the guys that I have been beating are either former world champions or top-five guys,” said Vera on the Believe You Me podcast with Michael Bisping and Anthony Smith. “So, probably for myself, I have a little longer road, but it is what it is. It’s life. Some people have an easier road, a shorter road. I have a longer road. So, at the end of the day, life is hard for everybody.

“But I really believe with a solid win on this guy, I’m fighting for the belt regardless,” continued Vera. “All this hype thing — who has more views, who has less views — it doesn’t f—king matter. You go out there and put the lights out, the views come your way.”

Next in line for a title shot is Sean O’Malley, who secured his with a split decision over Petr Yan. ‘Sugar’ awaits the winner of Aljamain Sterling vs. Henry Cejudo, but the UFC has yet to announce it as official. Though he considered staying active and accepting another fight in the meantime, O’Malley has decided to wait for what he said is ‘guaranteed’.

For Vera, waiting for a title shot is not an option.

“When they called me for this fight [with Sandhagen], I was like, ‘yeah, I’ll take it,” said Vera. “I don’t see it as a negative thing. I don’t see it as going backwards. It’s just another day at the office, putting in more reps and getting more experience. If I’m healthy, why sit down? There’s a bag of money to go and grab, so why not? [I] keep advancing and I’m beating legit guys. It’s not like they’re building my career and s—t like that. The experience that I have right now, you can’t buy that. You can only get it through walking the walk, and I’m getting calmer in there, I’m getting better in there. So while all these guys act like a bunch of c—ts, I’m just going to keep getting better. And by the time I get to them, it’s going to be night-night.”

UFC Vegas 69 is scheduled for Saturday, February 18, at the UFC APEX in Las Vegas.