A year and a half absence from the octagon is time well spent for Julian Marquez.
He’s been keeping quite busy since tearing his latissimus dorsi in a split decision loss to Alessio Di Chirico at TUF 27 Finale on July 6, 2018. Finding things to do during the COVID-19 pandemic is nothing really new for the UFC middleweight.
Marquez did it for the last 20 months. He is investing time in bettering himself financially and physically during a time full of adversity.
“Honestly, the way I look at it, it was a blessing. I was looking at it like, ‘Man, I’m single, I made $70,000 plus on my first UFC bout, I’m good to go,’” Marquez said. “Whenever that injury happened and I was out for five months, that was when I was like, ‘Ok, I need to figure out something to do and get revenue coming in where I’m not sitting there working a minimum wage style job or an above average job.”
Finding a way
Getting his hand raised is still a priority, but Marquez is also interested in liquid assets and capital gains.
Real estate and flipping homes is something Marquez sees as a long-term profession. His interest in real estate started with his father, Fernando Marquez, who owns numerous properties.
The 29-year-old is learning more about the industry by watching UFC fighter James Krause. Krause is balancing life as a professional athlete, head coach and real estate agent.
Marquez, who resides in Las Vegas, Nevada, is in the process of acquiring his own real estate license. He plans to take the licensing test and eventually flip homes following the recent pandemic.
Growing his Youtube channel and learning more about the stock market are other ways Marquez spent his time while rehabbing.
“Regardless of how much money you’re make fighting, it’s easy to spend that money.” Marquez said. “As long as you have something that keeps paying you when you’re sleeping, that’s the goal.”
He is putting his time to good use. With a pen and 200-paged notebook in his hand, he studied the entire UFC middleweight division.
Marquez grew so confident in his knowledge of the fighters that he decided to gamble on bouts. What started as a suggestion from long-time friend Brad Perkins turned into a new hobby.
“He [Perkins] goes, I want you to look at every fight, watch them and break down every fight,” Marquez said.
“I wrote down every single person’s strength, weakness, movement, and style to the point where I started looking at matchups in the middleweight division. I started gambling,” Marquez said. “I’d be like ‘This is a +200 underdog, I think the line got it mixed up,’ so I would just put a little bit of money up and that person would win.”
Going through the grind
Marquez bursted into the UFC in 2017 with a head-kick knockout over Phil Hawes on Dana White’s Contender Series, followed by a submission victory over Darren Stewart in his UFC debut. His streak of five-straight finishes came to an end with the loss to Di Chirico.
A loss is one thing, but his injury sustained during the fight paused his career for longer than he anticipated.
“It just took me out for two years, that’s what killed my momentum,” Marquez said. “In our sport, it’s very easy to be forgotten because we fight every other week and there’s some highlight reel the following week, so it’s different.”
Trying something new
The lead up to his last bout involved him missing weight by four pounds. The Kansas City, Missouri native takes full responsibility and claims he knows exactly why it happened.
He’s spent the last year and a half experimenting different diets to right his wrong. He ate vegan for 90 days, followed by going vegetarian for 120 days and trying Whole30 for 60 days.
“You got to try it, now I can sit down with somebody who chooses not to eat meat and explain to them why I like it,” Marquez said. “I’ve done a lot of different diets, I like some of them and they’ve been really helping out a lot.”
Just a chapter
There are a few options out there for when he will return to the octagon. The middleweight eyed UFC 252, which is scheduled for July 11. It would mark two years and five days since his last bout.
Rumors of a potential hometown card in Kansas City grabbed his attention as well. Marquez also volunteered to fill in a late-notice spot on the UFC London card. The UFC postponed the event on March 16, along with UFC Columbus and UFC Portland.
Although he found new ways to invest his time and money, he is eager to resume his career inside the octagon. At 7-2, Marquez’s MMA journey is far from over.
“I have the greatest story being written in all honesty,” Marquez said. “Then I got a comeback, so the story is still being written and I’m still telling it.”
Connor Northrup once covered municipal meetings and promised himself never again. He is now combining his passion for Mixed Martial Arts and reporting all into one.