A life-altering experience? Just ask Marlon Vera. He’ll tell you how training with coach Jason Parillo has improved his life.
After Vera’s marquee match at UFC on ESPN 41 versus former champion Dominick Cruz, Parillo texted him. The screenshot speaks for itself; no commentary is necessary.
“Like six days ago, my coach sent a picture,” Vera told reporters afterward at Pechanga Arena. “It was literally (Pedro) Munhoz kicking his body (at UFC 269), and his head was dipping all the way down. He didn’t text anything, just sent me the picture. I picked it up like he’s giving me a message. And in the third round he told me, ‘Punch in the air, have him dip, and throw a f*cking haymaker.’ And I was like, ‘Thank you, coach.’”
Vera paid attention, and in the fourth round, he delivered a stunning knockout by hitting a head kick on Cruz as Cruz did exactly what Parillo said he would do. Vera’s record now stands at 14-6 in the UFC. A few more blows in the face, and that was all she had to say. Vera achieved the “biggest win of his career,” surpassing both Frankie Edgar and Rob Font, who had held the title earlier.
“Everything I did leading to this fight has paid off – hard work, staying consistent, staying focused, don’t be f*cking around in the media,” Vera said. “Just be consistent. These are the best years of my life ahead of me right now. Why not be all in? … Those performances don’t happen like that if you’re just going halfway. I’m all in.”
Vera has already won four consecutive matches, which is sufficient evidence to demonstrate his success. After Cruz’s high-volume and diversified offensive, which was mainly effective, Vera entered the fourth round in a position of disadvantage, behind 29-28 on all three judges’ scorecards. But Vera was able to knock down two of his own opponents. Later, he called Cruz’s tricky style “low level.”
“We told each other, ‘We have to kick this guy’s ass.’” Vera said of the message among his team. “But by saying that, you put a lot of pressure on yourself. I just believe that style is not the best style for MMA. Maybe for boxing it works better. But for MMA, he has way too many weapons going.”
“That’s a good thing, having a good mindset and just really not giving a f*ck about things you cannot control,” Vera said. “… I know for a matter of fact (the UFC likes) me, so why be tripping when you know everything’s gonna come your way. Just keep working.”
He added, “When I was 14 years old in Ecuador, I was telling everybody I want to be a UFC fighter, I want to be a world champion, I want to move to U.S. and train with a real gym. Looking back, everything was a fantasy back then, but nobody knew I was being for real. That was my dream. Now that I’m living it, I’m f*cking happy.”