Undefeated heavyweight Brandon “The Truth” Vera (8-0) burst on to the UFC scene two years ago at The Ultimate Fight Night 2. He subsequently mowed through the division with impressive victories over Justin Eilers and Assuerio Silva before pucntuated his arrival with an emphatic 69 second knockout of ex-heavyweight champion Frank Mir at UFC 65. He was the talk of the division and the UFC’s next big thing. But due to serious issues with management Vera has been unable to fight for over a year.
15rounds.com recently sat down with Vera to discuss his upcoming fight with Sylvia, what caused the management trouble, and his long-term prospects. Below is the full transcript of that interview:
Question: How has your camp been after the long lay-off?
Brandon Vera: The camp’s been good, but I’m tired of training. My coach has done a great job. We’ve brought in a lot of big dudes. The biggest guy was 300 pounds but now he weights about 285. We’ve been working him out.
Q: What are you weighing in for the fight at?
BV: I’m not sure yet. Some weeks I’m down to 217 and other weeks I’m up to 225. We’ll see. I’m not trying to cut weight.
Q: Will his size be big factor?
BV: Of course. Absolutely. That’s why we brought in so many big guys.
Q: Who is the largest guy you’ve fought in your career?
BV: I fought someone who was 6’8” in a Muay Thai Fight.
Q: How did that fight go?
BV: I lost a split decision, but the guy who beat me ended up winning the tournament. We banged on each other for three rounds. Neither of us could walk for two weeks after. His coaches couldn’t believe how tough the fight was.
Q: Do you think a win against Sylvia would put you in line for a heavyweight title fight?
BV: It all depends on how the fight goes. If I win the fight well, then yes. Otherwise, I may not.
Q: Do you think it should matter how you win the fight? Or should it just matter if you win the fight?
BV: People have been telling me I just concentrate on winning the fight, but to me, I want to finish the fight. How you finish the fight is important. That’s what makes people want to watch you again. I don’t ever want to leave the decision in the judges’ hands.
Q: I can understand that. We’ve seen some questionable decisions lately – especially the Matt Hamill vs. Michael Bisping fight.
BV: I can’t believe that fight was even a split decision. One judge scored the fight entirely for Bisping.. I was like, “what the heck is going on?” I don’t ever want to leave the fight in someone else’s hands.
Q: You’ve been out the cage for a while now. What have you been up to?
BV: I’ve been training really hard. I went up to Big Bear to train with Rampage (Jackson), Cheick Kongo, and (Michael) Bisping. It was great training with those guys. I also went to Thailand and the Philipines.
Q: That’s right – you were in Thailand for the Fight Girls show. What do you think of the show?
BV: The show was awesome. It was funny listening to the women talk. It was pretty much exactly what you would expect from putting a whole group of women together in a house. My wife was on the show. She is fighting again on November 17 in London.
Q: Is it hard for you to watch your wife fight?
BV: It is. But she’s real good, and she trains hard. She always asks my opinion. We don’t train though together except for cardio.
Q: Will she be at your upcoming fight?
BV: Of course. For sure.
Q: The last guy to beat Sylvia was, of course, Randy “The Natural” Couture. Did you learn anything from watching that fight?
BV: Yes. Keep Tim guessing. Keep your head moving and you’ll be fine. Couture’s victory was Poetry in Motion.
Q: Another top heavyweight has been in the news as well in Fedor Emelianenko. Over the past few months, Dana White seemed confident that Fedor Emelianenko would be coming to the UFC. Now, he has signed with the M-1 Organization. What are your thoughts on Emelianenko?
BV: Everyone is beatable. No one is unbeatable. Fedor, for sure, is beatable. Just don’t stand there and slug with him.
Q: In the past, you’ve mentioned your goal is to win both the heavyweight and light-heavyweight titles. Is that still your goal?
BV: Of course it is. No one has ever done that – hold both belts at the same time. Best case scenario: I win the heavyweight title then I drop down and win the light heavyweight tile. Even if I have to give up one of the belts, I can say that I did it even if for just a few minutes. I always shoot for the stars. I want to do what no one else has ever done.
Q: Would it be hard to make 205?
BV: 205 would not be a problem. I can make it without even trying.
Q: You’ve been out of the cage for a while now – due to what many have referred to as “management issues”. Is that true?
BV: Yes. My ex-manager Mark Dionne was untruthful about some stuff with the UFC. He did not tell me everything the UFC saying. It made me not like the UFC for a time. It made me think the UFC did not care what I was doing. I felt disrespected, but none of what Dionne said was true. I ended up getting rid of (Dionne). I found out a lot of stuff about Dionne did during arbitration. I got to tell him exactly how I felt without putting my hands on him and that was kind of cool. I felt relieved.
Q: While you were out, we actually saw you at a Gary Shaw promoted boxing event, Israel Vasquez for Rafael Marquez 1, in Los Angeles, Ca. There were a lot of EliteXC fighters there. Shaw even alluded to the fact that EliteXC was close to signing you. What happened there?
BV: They never made an official offer to me according to Mark Dionne. I guess they were just throwing numbers around. I believe that is why Mark did not tell me about the UFC’s offer. Dionne liked the numbers EliteXC was throwing at him instead. Dionne is a piece of crap.
Q: What did you learn from the experience with Dionne?
BV: I learned a lot. If anything contract related is going on, the fighter should be present. You need to trust your management team, but for the final meeting, the athlete should be there. That way you will keep honest people honest.
Q: How long is your new contract with the UFC?
BV: It is a six-fight deal. I think it’ll be close to two years for the six fights.
Q: We’re getting close to your big fight with Sylvia. Do you have a prediction for the fight?
BV: I don’t like to make predictions, but I will predict the fight will not go to the judges – one way or the other.
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