This week, we spoke with up-and-coming UFC prospect Julian Marquez on his love of mixed martial arts, his journey to the UFC, and his future plans. With it being the New Year, we’re going to look back at the fantastic 2017 Marquez had and what 2018 has to hold for this intriguing middleweight prospect.
With one official UFC fight under his belt, Marquez has a lot of hype behind him which is not unwarranted. With an impressive head kick knockout on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series, Marquez was snapped up by the organization and made his debut against Darren Stewart at UFC on FOX 26 in Winnipeg last December. That night, Marquez picked up a submission win against Darren Stewart, and he also picked up a Fight of the Night bonus, something many fighters dream of for their debut. To top it all off, Marquez showed us his feel-good personality by challenging current UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley to a dramatic “beard-off” and although admittedly just missing out on the title of “Best Beard in the UFC”, there is no doubt that we will be seeing Marquez offering challenges to his UFC colleagues both inside and outside of the cage in the near future.
However, with all of this professional success so far, Marquez has his feet firmly on the ground, realizing the most important things in life.
“The best moment of 2017 for me was seeing my family after my fight (in Winnipeg) because who cares if you win or lose, I walked out and saw my family and those things don’t change – those are my favorite moments”.
In terms of best MMA moment, Marquez’s favorite came in May 2017 when fighting Cameron Olsen at LFA 12.
“The Olsen fight was when people really started being like OK, he’s looking like a good guy. I knew I was in the UFC the moment I fought Phil Hawes and of course winning that was good but what had people really turning their heads was the fact that I ended up stopping Olsen, a guy that had never been stopped before. I did it pretty quick, which shocked a lot of people”.
Currently on medical suspension due to a nose injury, there are no definite plans for Marquez’s next fight in the UFC; however, he is not a man to back away from a challenge. When asked if he has any opponents in mind, it was clear that there is no trial too big or too small for the middleweight, fighting is his calling and nothing is out of the question when it comes to becoming the best.
“I don’t care who it is (that they give me), what name it is, what style they are or if they’re the baddest on the planet, I will fight them, I love to fight. Two people in the cage, giving everything they possibly can for fifteen to twenty-five minutes, all heart to see who becomes the victor, that’s what I love”.
In the short term, there is no shortage of opponents for Marquez in the competitive UFC middleweight division. With such success in recent times, a top 15 opponent may not be out of the question. When asked about fellow up-and-comer Paolo “Borrachinha” Costa, Marquez let us know that he has his eyes peeled, but understand the rankings system of the UFC.
“A lot of people want me to fight him. I think he’s a tough opponent. I think half of the UFC is afraid to fight him and it leaves me there to walk through with no fear. They’re not afraid of me but one day that will change. One day we might match up, but he’s had a few fights in the UFC and I respect fighters and their rankings… but I’m not afraid to fight him.”
Of course, the big picture plan is to become the UFC middleweight champion and Marquez has made it clear that all of his hard work and dedication to mixed martial arts over the past ten years has been leading up to one overall goal.
“I see myself holding the title before I’m 30, it could be in a year, it could be in 2 years. I see myself being where I want to be and having everything I’ve worked hard for. I can’t tell you how I’m going to get there or who I’m going to beat to get there but I can tell you that my hand is getting raised a lot and at the end of the day, I’m walking away with that gold belt.”
Regardless of what or who’s next for Julian Marquez, I think it’s safe to say that there is a bright future for him in the UFC. With hard work, dedication, and a contagious personality, there is no doubt that we are looking at a new fan favorite that may just hold that gold belt one day.
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