UFC 292 this past Saturday was host of one of the biggest championship upsets of the year. Sterling saw his record-setting title run come to an end, as he was stopped by O’Malley, who entered the fight as a significant underdog.
While Vera (21-8-1 MMA, 15-7 UFC) doesn’t want to take any credit away from O’Malley’s win, he does think Sterling made a crucial mistake by rushing “Sugar.”
“It was great. That’s picture-perfect,” Vera told Morning Kombat when asked about O’Malley’s win. “You’re fighting a guy that’s a really clean striker, that has really good sit in the punches, and you just run to the guy? What do you think it’s going to happen?”
“Chito,” who defeated Pedro Munhoz that same night in Boston, is hoping to get a title shot, and thinks he’s one to hang with O’Malley (17-1 MMA, 9-1 UFC) on the feet. After all, Vera did stop O’Malley in 2020, and is currently the only fighter in the promotion that holds a win over the new champion.
“I’m at that level. I can hang with anyone in the standup,” Vera explained. “I can be in front of you. I can make reads. Sterling is just, a great f*cking champion and good wrestling, but he just don’t have that standup to be right there eye to eye playing chess. He just doesn’t have that. I do have that.
“I fought every single world-class striker and neither, no one has put me in a bad position just because I’m in there and I have a good base. Going back to the coach (Jason Parillo), he’s the one that brought me to the next level: The eyes, the coordination, the striking. Just growing my toughness and hard work ethic and polishing everything. I can hang with anyone. I already fought Sean. I was already in front of him. Now it’s a good time to do it. Sterling made a big mistake. You cannot run to someone – even if the guy is not a good striker.”