It seems like it’s nearly impossible to find an available opponent for Marvin Vettori, according to the Italian fighter’s own words.
‘The Italian Dream’ is currently riding a three-fight win streak, having triumphed over Cezar Ferreira, Andrew Sanchez and, most recently, on Karl Roberson with his most impressive UFC victory so far.
That round-one rear naked-choke earned him the #14 spot on the official UFC middleweight ranking.
“I’m sure glad I made the middleweight top-15,” Vettori told BJPENN.com. “But I don’t really mind, to be honest, since my goal is to be the undisputed number one in my division, and why not, even more. The thing is I know there are some dynamics around all this rankings stuff. So, I’m glad to have a number beside my name since that’s what will give me matches that bring me closer to the gold.”
While chasing his title shot, the Mezzocorona-native is calling out names after names, including a bunch of legend of this sport, in the likes of Anderson Silva, and “Jacaré” Souza.
“I would have loved to face both Anderson Silva and Jacaré [Souza]. I’m a well-rounded fighter, I have no gaps in this MMA game. Every match-up is a good match-up for me, I’m very confident about it. Plus, those are some heavy names and I would have liked to share the Octagon with those legends. We would have put on a show. I can guarantee you, I would haven’t wrestled with Anderson Silva and with Jacaré… well we would have had a good scrap. Too bad they turned me down.”
It seems, though, that Silva and Souza are not the only ones that turned him down, according to Vettori himself. He recently flew back home, after another top-10 opponent allegedly turned the bout down.
“A lot of them turned me down, I know that for sure,” Italy’s pride continued. “The [middleweight] division is in an odd position right now. Some fighters already have a fight booked, some are injured, some are not very active, some have other excuses. The last one who didn’t accept the fight, I don’t want to put names out because we trained together sometimes, but it really happened. What they need to understand, though, it’s that at the highest levels, that’s business at its finest. There are some teammates that are brothers to me, but as for the others, outside the gym, we are just opponents, if we’re both free. As I said, that’s business, even if we shared the mat or we know each other.”
“Of course I’m not talking about [Kelvin] Gastelum,” the Kings MMA representative specified. “I would never fight him, and he wouldn’t too. Unless it’s for the title. In that case, I’m sure both would take the fight with a smile on our faces and a hug after the bout. That’s the only scenario; if we were forced to fight for the belt. But I know it wouldn’t affect our friendship.”
So, what’s next for Marvin Vettori? There are very few routes if he’s willing to fight a ranked opponent next.
“[Edmen] Shahbazyan has just fought and who knows when he will be back since he’s not that active as a fighter, [Derek] Brunson wants a higher-ranked opponent, [Jack] Hermansson pretends not to see what I write, [Ian] Heinisch doesn’t want to fight, turned me down, [Antonio Carlos Junior] Cara de Sapato turned me down in past, as well. It’s a mess. Now, my hope it’s to show [Chris] Weidman what’s an elite middleweight looks like. I hope it really happens, that would be a great match. The UFC promised me a ranked opponent and that’s what I’ll get,” Vettori stated.
And if the Italian athlete is running for the title, there are fans that already asked for a rematch with the current middleweight belt-holder, Israel Adesanya, since Vettori has been the first and only fighter to force Adesanya into a split decision victory.
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"It was so close. We have to redo it." – @marvinvettori. Is @stylebender vs @marvinvettori the fight to make?! 🤔 if you know, you know. Art by me. . . . . . #ufc #israeladesanya #marvinvettori #jonjones #stylebender #andersonsilva #ufc252 #fightisland #conormcgregor #adesanya #mma #fight #ufcart #yoelromero #paulocosta
“One or two good matches and we will run it again,” The Italian Dream declared. “Anyway, I’m not going to be sidelined for a long time. That’s not an option. As for now, I do hope the Weidman bout happens within the next months.”
How do you like Marvin Vettori’s chances to climb the middleweight division’s ladder in order to get his most anticipated match against the current champion?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 8/10/2020.