The Sugar Show hype train got derailed on Saturday night at UFC 252, with heavy underdog Marlon Vera taking out “Sugar” Sean O’Malley in the first round via TKO. Unfortunately it wasn’t the FOTN contender we all hoped it would be. Instead, O’Malley’s leg started malfunctioning halfway through the round in a similar fashion to his 2018 fight with Andre Soukhamthath. But unlike Andre, Marlon had more than enough killer instinct to quickly finish off his injured prey.
“I see myself as a very good kicker, I was throwing a lot of kicks back in the day,” Vera said after the fight. “Now I’m putting it together, my boxing and everything. Now, watching the video, I threw a hard calf kick and after I threw the calf kick, his nerves just ... s**t happens. He kicked me really hard in the leg, but my shin is just stronger than his.”
After the bout, “Chito” Vera took time during his post-fight interview with Joe Rogan to thank him for all the motivation over the years.
“As I always say, hype, big name, fame, none of this counts if you don’t put in hard work and dedication,” Vera told Rogan. “You’re the perfect example. I learned that from you when you talk on your podcast, the things you say about ‘Push yourself’ and ‘Don’t be a bitch,’ ‘Conquer your inner bitch.’ All these f**king things, Joe, you make a big level to another step. So thank you for that.”
This isn’t the first time Vera has big up’d Rogan. Following his win at UFC 239 he started his in-cage interview with the now-infamous Nick Diaz shout-out heard at the start of every Joe Rogan Experience: “Train by day, Joe Rogan podcast by night ... all day!”
Vera expanded on his enjoyment of the podcast during the UFC 252 post-fight press conference.
“I think Joe Rogan pumped me up pretty good, the way he talks about inspiration, motivation, hard work, stuff like that,” he explained. “That’s something that I really admire from him. He seems to be a solid guy. When he talks about things like that he’s a pretty good motivator, the way he says ‘Conquer your inner bitch, push yourself.’ And I remember long time ago they talk about the immigrant mentality and I capture that pretty good because that’s me right there, that’s the meaning of being myself.”
“I’m from a small town in Ecuador, moving to California my whole family, buying a house and keep going forward trying to achieve my dreams and keep my family safe and happy. Those things is what I am. I’m an immigrant and I’m somebody that came to this country to take advantage for the good, not the bad. And just work hard. Work hard will always pay off.”
As for whether he planned on asking Rogan to be on the podcast?
“That’s a thing I will never do,” Vera replied. “Everybody asking for that, everyone want to be there because everyone want to be famous. I’m not the kind of person to be chasing that kind of stuff. If he invite me one day, it would be a pleasure, I would love it. But I’m not a person that ask for that type of thing. It’s pretty silly when people try like that. When you want things, they will come to you.”