ONE Heavyweight World Champion Brandon Vera of the Philippines is basking in the spotlight right now, after a series of new ONE Championship heavyweight talent recently signed with the promotion, some openly challenging the Filipino-American veteran.
ONE Championship’s heavyweight division is suddenly one of its most exciting, with athletes such as former UFC star Arjan Bhullar, grappling legends Tom deBlass and Marcus “Buchecha” Almeida, and Iranian gold medal wrestler Amir Aliakbari.
With so many top talents joining the promotion, “The Truth” believes his reign on the heavyweight throne has just begun.
“The first requirement of being a champion is to understand. Now, the real work begins. People are always trying to be number one. Until I’m done, that’s my spot,” said Brandon Vera.
One of the athletes who recently called Brandon Vera out was Aliakbari, who sent a chilling message to the Filipino-American last week.
“I only want one fight and that's Brandon Vera. This is the fight to make. None of these heavyweights can last in the cage or ring with me, including Brandon,” Aliakbari was quoted as saying. “I ask ONE to give me Brandon and I promise to smash him brutally.”
Vera expressed his excitement with Aliakbari’s call out and welcomed any challenge thrown his way.
“I know Amir is a monster and on a tear! I’m excited for him and for the ONE heavyweight division,” said Vera.
With nearly two-decades of professional mixed martial arts experience, Vera has seen it all.
He’s held the ONE Heavyweight World Championship since 2015, after winning the inaugural belt with a scintillating first round knockout over Paul Cheng. He has successfully defended his World Title twice.
At the age of 42, Brandon Vera is in the twilight of his career. But “The Truth” says as long as he feels physically capable of competing at the highest level, he will continue with his reign until someone knocks him off the top spot.
“I don’t ever realize my age until someone asks me about it. We’re going to go until the day I wake up and decide I’m done with competing. When that is, who knows?” said Vera.
“I’ve been training my whole life, I feel like I always have. The only thing I’d say that has changed is that I’ve learned how to train smarter.”
Vera is expected to take on Indian wrestling superstar Bhullar in his next heavyweight title defense, although details of the bout have yet to be finalized and revealed. In the meantime, Vera continues to sharpen his skills, staying ready in case the call to defend his belt comes once again.
Brandon Vera and wife Jessica together recently welcomed their first child into the world. Jessica gave birth to a healthy baby boy, Atreyu Timothy, at home in Guam late last month. It’s an experience Vera says has given him extra motivation in his career.
“Being a father and a husband requires personal attention, always. Finding the right balance is always key. I’m fortunate enough to have a wife who helps make sure that balance is always struck and in tune. If I’m messing up, she’ll let me know,” said Brandon Vera.Published 25 Aug 2020, 13:23 IST