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 Julian Marquez prepares to fight Sam Alvey in a middleweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on April 10, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Julian Marquez Promises "Pure Entertainment"

Rejuvenated "Cuban Missle Crisis" Is Back Making Waves At Middleweight

When Julian Marquez first strapped on four-ounce gloves and began his road to becoming a prizefighter, he probably never thought that one day in 2021 he would be reading / rapping Anna Dewdney’s Llama Llama Red Pajama to schoolkids during Dr. Seuss week.

Or did he?

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“You have to understand, I'm an entertainer, I'm a character,” said Marquez. “If I wouldn't have been fighting, I would have found some sort of way to entertain the public or be in something. It could have been acting, it could have been in drama. But fighting is something I enjoy doing and it's a form of entertainment. Every time that I'm on the camera, on the mic and in front of an audience, they're completely glued to the TV, they don't look away and they are excited. They're excited or they hate it - either way, they're looking. They're in the fight, they're watching it with me, and they'll watch the next one and watch the one after that. They'll listen to the post-fight speech, they'll follow me on Instagram just to see the crazy stuff I do, and it's definitely who I am.”

That’s the 31-year-old middleweight up and comer in a nutshell. Whether in the Octagon or outside of it, Marquez is intent on entertaining and leaving his mark. And so far so good on both fronts, even considering the 31-month injury-induced layoff that threatened his fighting career. But once “The Cuban Missile Crisis” returned to active duty in February, it’s been full speed ahead, with his submission of Maki Pitolo earning Performance of the Night honors and his finish of Sam Alvey via rear naked choke resulting in a Fight of the Night bonus.

Sounds like Comeback of the Year material, and Marquez won’t disagree.

“We were 31 months off, and no one said a damn word about me,” he said. “Now we're back at it, two finishes, two Fight of the Nights, I'm making waves. People aren't really seeing it, they're not noticing it, but I'm over here getting finishes. There's no else who came back after 31 months or after a long time off to come back and get finish after finish in dominant fashion.”

The Unique Relationship Between James Krause & Julian Marquez
The Unique Relationship Between James Krause & Julian Marquez

On Saturday, Marquez looks to keep his streak going against Jordan Wright at the UFC APEX in Las Vegas. It’s as important a fight as all the rest were, and maybe even more because should he end 2021 at 3-0 after nearly three years on the sidelines, it will set up a 2022 campaign that will be quite interesting, to say the least.

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“I look at what I'm doing, and it's not over,” he said. “It's only beginning. And everything that I set out to do and said I was gonna do, I'm doing it. Most people don't really understand that. I don't have to sit back and look at it and be like, 'Wow, look at what I've done and look what I've become.’ I'm doing everything I said I was gonna do, so I don't need to reflect on it because I've always known I'm doing this, and I said I was gonna do it a long time ago. Just because I was delayed a little bit of time doesn't mean the end goal and everything wasn't there. It just took a lot longer to get there.”

A lot of fighters would have quit after fully tearing their latissimus dorsi muscle. Marquez didn’t even consider it, and that’s a testament not just to his own fighting spirit, but that of his family. When asked about Hispanic Heritage Month, he recalls his father’s struggles coming from Cuba to the United States.

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“I grew up Cuban American, I know two languages, I've seen two sides,” he said. “I've seen the middle class and the lower class work together, I've seen people come to this country and not have a single dollar to their name go to having an entire corporation underneath their name 20-30 years later. It's important to me. My family came over from Cuba with nothing and with the opportunity that the United States gives, they were able to create an empire of their own, which allowed me to have this. It allowed me to have that fighter mentality that things aren't gonna go your way, so you gotta keep going. And if you keep going and keep pushing and keep driving, it may not happen today, it may not happen tomorrow, but in a couple years it will happen, and I see that.”

Julian Marquez Finishes Sam Alvey Via Submission | UFC Fight Night: Vettori Vs Holland
Julian Marquez Finishes Sam Alvey Via Submission | UFC Fight Night: Vettori Vs Holland

It's happening now for Marquez, who is exactly where he thought he would be before his injury in 2018. Just like he planned it. With a detour or two, of course.

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“I've been doing this for a long time,” he said. “The plan has been since high school, since the first day I walked on a wrestling mat; I've been planning everything out. And I'm just getting better and better. I made a couple mistakes, had a couple hiccups and I just keep playing the game and I'm still there. If I need to improv, I improv and I've done that. I'm constantly changing, constantly growing and constantly moving to the point where no one knows what's gonna happen. You just know it's gonna be pure entertainment, excitement and you're gonna want to tune in. I'm the dark horse.”