FOR more than five years, Brandon Vera had a stranglehold on ONE Championship’s heavyweight division and he wants nothing more than to get back to the pedestal he once owned.
The Filipino-American was a wrecking ball of power during his reign as the ONE Heavyweight World Champion, knocking people out even before the match started to heat up.
Paul Cheng, Hideki Sekine, and Mauro Cerilli all fell to Mr. Vera’s thunderous striking. Yet, all good things had to come to an end and so did Mr. Vera’s reign atop the heavyweight division.
Mr. Mr. Vera ultimately relinquished the world title to India’s Arjan Bhullar at “ONE: Dangal” in May of 2021. More than a year since he lost the gold, Mr. Vera said that his top priority is to bring the ONE Heavyweight World Title back to the Philippines.
“I miss you all very very much. I miss the entire world. I miss performing for you guys. I cannot wait to get back and show you how we’ve been training and what we’ve been doing,” said Mr. Vera.
“Our goal, our dream is to bring our championship belt back home to the Philippines. That’s my number one goal now.”
More than regaining his World Title, though, Mr. Vera wants to become a better ambassador for the sport and inspire more children to take up mixed martial arts.
The hulking heavyweight added that he never thought about his legacy in the sport, but the one thing he’s always focused on is how he can be a role model to the new generation of fighters who watched him fight.
“I never thought about that. I’ve never ever thought about that before. I figure I just let people think of me however they think of me… the only thing that’s ever made me really happy about my reach and how far our reach is in the Philippines is when all the kids in the province know who I am,” he said.
“For me, that’s a big deal. Like, they’ll tell me ‘I want to be a fighter like you. I want to fight in the ring,’ that’s the biggest deal to me. So other than that, I never thought past that.”
While he’s still waiting to get back inside the Circle, Mr. Vera is tuned to what will happen at the landmark ONE on Prime Video 1: Moraes vs. Johnson II on August 27, Singapore time, at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.