A look at the Peaks and Valleys of Brandon Vera’s career

brandon vera

Last weekend, Fil-Am ONE FC fighter Brandon Vera successfully defended his heavyweight title.

He now basks in the praise and adoration of Filipino fight fans, but the road to this point in his career was paved by twists and turns.

In 2005, Vera burst on to the scene as the undersized yet highly dangerous heavyweight contender. He won his first 4 UFC bouts all by impressive stoppage, including a first-round TKO win over former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir.

With versatile Muay Thai, a BJJ brown belt, and an overwhelming amount of confidence, Vera promised to lay claim to both the UFC’s heavyweight and light heavyweight titles. But that plan quickly went south.

A contract dispute benched Vera for a year. And upon his return, he lost back-to-back fights to former champ Tim Sylvia and eventual champ Fabricio Werdum.

This forced Vera to make the cut down to light heavyweight. There, he saw some success, going 3-1 to start things off. However, things began to unravel for “The Truth.”

He suffered a controversial decision loss to former 2-division champ Randy Couture in a fight that many believed could’ve been scored in Vera’s favor. Even Couture admitted after the fight that he wouldn’t have been surprised if the judges awarded Vera the win.

From there, he lost to eventual pound-for-pound great Jon Jones, suffering a broken orbital en route to his TKO loss. He then lost to Thiago Silva in embarrassing fashion, as the Brazilian broke Vera’s nose and began to slap him with Vera unable to fight back. Even though that loss was overturned to a No Contest due to a falsified urine test sample from Silva, it was undoubtedly a low point in the Fil-Am’s career.

A narrow win over Elliot Marshall and 2 stoppage losses gave Vera the boot from the UFC. However, Singapore-based promotion ONE FC came calling.

They signed Vera as a heavyweight in 2014 and he’s fought in Manila 3 times since then (all his fights have been in Manila). He’s won all his bouts via TKO.

Though his opponents at ONE FC may not be the likes of those he faced in the UFC, Vera still enjoys the success of being a Filipino heavyweight champion living in the Philippines.

Now based in Manila and with a movie in the works, Vera shows that, despite the twists, turns, peaks, and valleys your path may have, you can still find success if you’re willing to keep fighting.


AJ Matthews trains with Brandon Vera in the Philippines
Brandon Vera defends his title against Japanese foe

Gab Pangalangan

Gab Pangalangan is a former collegiate national Judo champ and the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of DojoDrifter.com. You can find his other works in the Philippines' leading magazines and websites.
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