UFC light heavyweight Brandon ‘The Truth’ Vera has been through a veritable emotional rollercoaster this year.
After dropping a one-sided unanimous decision loss to Thiago Silva in January, his third consecutive after earlier defeats against future champion Jon Jones and UFC legend Randy Couture, Vera was cut from the UFC roster.
But when results from the post-fight drug tests from UFC 125 came in, Silva was found to have submitted a falsified urine sample and the decision was turned into a no-contest.
“Nobody knows what kind of drug he used,” said the Filipino-American Vera, who is in town to help promote the PXC 28 event at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City on Saturday. “He didn’t even use his own urine. He used synthetic urine. So it’s either animal or powdered urine that he was trying to pass off as human urine. So he was cheating for real.”
Three losses in a row is commonly grounds for getting cut from the promotion, and with the fight no longer counting as a loss on Vera’s record, the road was clear for Vera’s return to the Octagon.
“Being cut felt like a death in the family and then being reinstated felt like a new baby coming into the world. That’s the easiest way to describe it, man,” he said. “And it was like in five days.”
Now, Vera is hoping his career is back on the right track after claiming a unanimous decision win over Eliot Marshall in UFC 137 last month – his first win in two years.
Of course, a rollercoaster is apt to describe not just the last few months, but the entire career of the fighter they call ‘The Truth’. After starting out as a bright heavyweight prospect with endless ambition – he once aimed to win championships in two divisions – his career fizzled as quickly as it began.
“Everybody wants to ask what happened but honestly, it’s just life that happened,” said Vera. “Life comes at you from so many different directions that I didn’t realize that MMA wasn’t important to me anymore until right before this last fight.”
“I went on a road trip. I did 8,500 miles around the US,” he said. “And I figured it out, you know. Somewhere, something happened along in my life that MMA just wasn’t number one anymore.”
“And I never thought it happened. People were telling me, ‘Brandon, you’re not as focused as you used to be. I don’t think you want it as bad as you used to.’ And I was like, ‘What are you talking about, man?’ But once I figured it out, and I had time to myself and think, I believe I understand what my coaches meant.”
Vera hopes a renewed commitment to the sport takes him much further than he’s ever reached in the past.
“I want to become champion. I want it bad. I’ve not reached my full potential or the end of my career yet. When I got cut that could have been the end of my career. That could have been it. Brandon Vera only progressed so far,” he said.
“But I got a second chance, a second shot at life, man. I didn’t even get to the title rounds last time. This time I’m making it to the championship rounds. I’m going to get that belt put around my waist, point to the camera and say ‘I told you so.’”
To do that, though, he’ll have to go through one of the deepest divisions in the UFC. “It’s one of the most talented fight pools out there right now,” Vera said. “The UFC 205 division is ridiculous.”
But Vera is more than willing to go through the division that houses fighters like Shogun Rua, Rashad Evans, Lyoto Machida, Rampage Jackson, Alliance MMA teammate Phil Davis and Dan Henderson.
“You have to. What did they say in that movie, ‘The world will not know your name’?”
And at the end of it all could be a rematch with the freakishly talented reigning UFC light heavyweight champion and one-time Vera conqueror Jon ‘Bones’ Jones.
“Jon Jones, yeah, man. Every time I watch him fight, umiinit ang dugo ko,” said Vera. “It would be nice to get with Jones again.”
“He’s a great athlete. I think everybody makes the same mistake. I don’t think anybody takes him seriously. I think after he beat up Shogun, people are going to fight him differently now. When he was taking people out early, people were like ‘He’s young. He’s getting lucky. He can’t be that good.’ But when he beat up Shogun, everybody knew he was real.”
A rematch with Jones could be far off for Vera but a rematch against Silva might be more realistic, and much more intriguing.
“I’m asking the UFC to let me fight whoever. I don’t give a damn if it’s Thiago. I don’t care who I fight next. I just want to fight.”
And if ‘The Truth’ had his way, this is what fans should expect in the future from Brandon Vera.
“A lot of wins, both my hands raised, me smiling a lot.”
And as for his trademark post-fight dance?
“For sure, when I knock somebody out. When I put somebody on their ass, I’ll do that dance, I promise.”
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