When Julian Marquez makes the walk to the Octagon on the main card of UFC 258 it will be 953 days since his last fight. The middleweight contender last fought back in July of 2018 and lost a very controversial split decision to Alessio Di Chirico.
However, what made the loss worse was during the fight, Marquez tore latissimus dorsi. The injury eventually led to two other surgeries that kept him out of action. He was then looking to fight in 2020 but a global pandemic and an opponent botching his weight cut kept the layoff even longer. But, on the main card of UFC 258, Marquez will return against Maki Pitlo, and despite the layoff, isn’t too worried about ring rust.
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“Ring rust is a mentality,” Marquez said on Just Scrap Radio on BJPENN.com. “I have been fighting every single day even when I was a little kid. What is ring rust? Excitement? Being flat, scared? It doesn’t matter to me, I train for that.”
When Julian Marquez was able to fight again, he was talking to James Krause, his head coach, and they both thought Pitolo would be a good fight back.
“I had actually been looking at a bunch of different people. I have a list and I sat down with my coach, James Krause, and we sat there and were looking at different opponents,” Marquez said. “We brought up Maki Pitolo and sent it to my manager and he loved that matchup. It is some action, two heavy hitters.”
Marquez knows Maki Pitolo is a hard hitter, but he is as well. Not only does Marquez believe he hits harder, but he also knows he is the better striker and has a clear advantage on the ground. No matter where this fight goes, “The Cuban Missile Crisis” expects to finish Pitolo.
“I think I have the advantage in every situation. Maki is great but I am way faster, more powerful, better IQ, my striking is more polished and my durability is better. He will struggle in any situation we are in,” Julian Marquez explained. “I can finish him on the ground or on the feet and that is what I’m going to do. I’m going for the kill and put all 28 months of sheer pain and excitement and hurt and want, any type of feeling I had will come out. This is the first time I can come back and show what I can do.”
If Marquez does end up finishing Pitolo, he expects to make a rapid ascent up the middleweight division. It is also a fight for the 30-year-old to remind the middleweight division he is here to stay.
“It just keeps me going forward. I’m not here to save other people’s careers, I’m here to make a statement and eventually be a champion. I will make sure that I am here to stay,” Marquez concluded.
Do you think Julian Marquez will finish Maki Pitolo?