Petr Yan seems to spent most of his time in Thailand training at Tiger Muay Thai. But according to Marlon Vera the Russian turned down a fight with him because he was too busy eating pizza in Italy!

Vera is set to take on Dominick Cruz at UFC on ESPN 41 this weekend. But he claims matchmakers offered the fight to Yan who turned it down:


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Back and forth

Vera is currently ranked #5 in the bantamweight division and the Ecuadorian has won his last three fights. Yan remains the #1 ranked contender after his controversial split decision loss to Aljamain Sterling at UFC 273.

The two men have already gone back and forth on social media in an exchange which could not exactly be described as respectful. Vera accused Yan of ‘bitching out’ back in May and the Russian basically confirmed he wasn’t willing to accept a bout in August:

Controversial losses

Vera is headlining this weekend’s card when he takes on Cruz. You would think the Ecuadorian would be fully focused on that fight but he still seems bitter about missing out on a matchup with Yan.

The TUF veteran has a record of 19-7-1 and has been on the UFC roster since 2014. He holds more stoppage wins than any other bantamweight in promotional history.

Yan only signed for the UFC in 2018. But he managed something which Vera has never achieved, four years ago the Russian became the promotion’s bantamweight champion.

He lost the title to Sterling after being disqualified for landing an illegal knee at UFC 259. He has two losses in his last three fights, both have come at the hands of the current champion and both have been controversial.

Former champion

This weekend in San Diego Vera faces another former bantamweight champion. He has been matched with #9 ranked Dominick Cruz who last held the belt back in 2016.

A win over Cruz would put Vera right in the title mix. But he might need to get through the #1 ranked contender in order to earn his shot at Sterling, who is booked to face TJ Dillashaw at UFC 280 in Abu Dhabi.

A few things will need to fall into place for the fight to become a realistic possibility, not least Vera winning this weekend and Yan beating Sean O’Malley at UFC 280. But if they do a grudge match between these bantamweight rivals could well be next on the agenda.