Nathaniel Wood was thrilled to see that rival Marlon Vera had called for fight with him after his dramatic first-round finish of Frankie Saenz at UFC Nashville.
“The Prospect” bolstered his stock the week before with his third submission win in as many outing under the UFC banner, stopping Jose Quinones in the second-round of their UFC London main card clash.
Having called for a showdown with Vera before he made his promotional debut, the Londoner revealed his delight on Sunday morning when he discovered that “Chito” had used his post-fight interview to try to set up a date with him.
“I was very happy,” Wood told Eurobash. “First thing this morning when I looked at my phone I saw I had been tagged in a load of stuff, I was thinking, ‘What’s going on here?’ and then I saw that [Vera] had called me out.
“For me, I got what I wanted because I’d love to fight ‘Chito’. That’s definitely a fight that I’ve been eyeing up for a long time. Now that he’s called me out, I don’t see any reason why it can’t happen.”
Wood is set to travel across Asia for some downtime following his impactful introduction to the UFC ranks and underlined August as an ideal month for the bout to take place.
“I’m doing a little bit of traveling now, I won’t actually be able to fight until August because obviously I’ll have to get back in shape, get the weight down et cetera. If he’s happy to wait until then, that would be amazing. It will be a great fight that I want and I really feel as though it’s a fight that the fans want to see,” he said.
The British bantamweight outlined his respect for Vera but insisted that if he was able to bring his A-game into their clash, he would be able to pick the Ecuadorian apart. He also noted Vera’s loss to his head coach Brad Pickett, which would serve as an extra motivating factor.
“He’s a very talented fighter and I do believe that he will be the hardest fight to date in my UFC career. If I’m honest, I do think that I would pick him apart. I see so many holes in his game that I could capitalize on. I’m confident in my skillset and I believe I’d make easy work of it. I’d definitely have to bring my A-game for him and I can’t overlook the guy. It’s fight that I would love to take and I would love to avenge Brad Pickett’s loss to him.”
The former Cage Warriors champion also highlighted why he thinks Vera’s callout is a nod to his growing stock on the back of UFC London.
“I did [call Vera out] before and I think after my first UFC fight he replied and said, ‘I don’t need you anymore I’m on to bigger and better things’. I just thought, ‘Whatever, you obviously don’t want to fight me and you’re using that as an excuse’,” he said.
“He’s probably seeing the amount of hype we got around London and realized that he would get some kind of publicity off me if he wins. It’s one of those risk/reward things. Maybe he was looking at me like I wasn’t worth the risk six months ago, but now that I’ve improved and got some more wins under my belt, there’s more to gain if he can beat me.
“I definitely feel because I’ve had that publicity on the London card, maybe we could be a co-main event somewhere, especially if it’s in the U.K. Fingers crossed there are some nice European events close to home, because if I get a fight with him I’ll be able to sell a hell of a lot of tickets.”
Check out the latest episode of Eurobash. The Nathaniel Wood interview begins at 6:30.