Marlon Vera picked up a big TKO win over Sean O’Malley at UFC 252, but it seems that the two men have completely opposing views about how much of an effect the fact that ‘Sugar’ suffered an ankle injury early in the fight had on the outcome.
“Now that the fight is over, he didn’t hurt his ankle. The x-rays came back clean,” Vera stated in an interview for BJPenn.com. “What I did to him, is basically when someone punches you in the jaw you go out.
His legs went out. I don’t give a f**k what people think or say. There will always be haters. He went out.
“But, man if they don’t stop it I would’ve beat him worse in the second. Everyone has an opinion. It was a solid win and I am happy, I wouldn’t change anything.”
Vera then went one step further by claiming that O’Malley was just looking for an excuse to get out of the fight.
“I am going to be honest, he quit. But, at the end of the day, I know my kicks are powerful and it f****d up his leg. His nerve went away when I kicked him.”
In fairness to O’Malley, it was clearly evident during the fight that his leg was involuntarily buckling underneath him at times, and on his podcast he suggested that loosening up his ankle supports before the fight may have cost him dearly.
“Even in the back warming up, everything was perfect,” O’Malley said. “I’m in good shape, I’m in f**king good shape. I’m breaking this motherf**ker, hundred percent in my mind. Get back there, doing our warmup, everything’s going perfect. About five minutes before they said, ‘Alright, we’re gonna walk,’ I go, ‘Hey (movement coach) Brandon (Harris), do you think you can f**king loosen up my ankle brace, it’s f**king tight.’ So he’s sitting in the back, loosening up my ankle braces because they were so tight.
“We walked out, everything felt good. Got in there, was in front of him, I’m like, in my mind, ‘This is easy. He’s slow. He can’t hit me.’ … If he can’t hit me and he can’t take me down, I didn’t think he’d be able to take me down because he was so slow. I remembered the pain that I had in the top of my foot, the Lisfranc surgery, had the same pain, but all around my ankle. I remember dragging my foot up against the cage like, ‘F**k.” Even still, didn’t feel in danger.”
Whether Vera would still have won without the ankle issue to his opponent is up for debate, but O’Malley appears to still be confident that he would have emerged victorious, and was somewhat disparaging in his assessment of his skill-set.
“Let’s look at his career in five years, let’s look at mine,” O’Malley said. “I’m going to be f**king world champion, he’s going to be a f**king journeyman. That’s just what his style is. He wins some, he loses some. He’s slow, but he’s gritty, so he’s going to be able to finish some people after they beat him up for a while. The way his pace was, super slow like that, and I was exploding into shots, I wasn’t gonna get tired and I was just gonna beat his ass.
“I don’t know if I was gonna get a finish in that first round. He was tough and he was patient, which was fine, because that’s easier for me, he wasn’t doing anything, he was standing there. It f**king sucks.”
So it’s clear there’s no love lost between these two, but according to Vera he’s in no mood to give O’Malley a rematch.
“F**k no, f**k him. He has to go fight and prove himself,” Vera said when asked about the idea of running the fight back again. “Let’s be real he was fighting low-level competition.”
“I want Jimmie Rivera next and that is what will happen next. There is nowhere he can run now or any excuses he can make.
“Right now, he has his back against his wall and can’t be picking his opponents. We have been scheduled to fight a couple of times, that is the fight to make.”
Meanwhile, O’Malley is resigned to the fact that he has to take this loss on the chin and move on, though he does hope to rematch Vera at some stage in the future.
“The thing is we picked the date,” O’Malley said. “We picked the time. We both walked out and then it doesn’t matter what the fu** happens. Whoever wins, however they win, wins. So he won. It sucks for me because I’m like, I lost to someone who I look at as not very good.”