Q&A with Brandon Vera
UFC heavyweight Brandon Vera is moving down to light heavyweight to take on UFC newcomer Reese Andy July 19 on Spike TV. The main event of the UFC Fight Night card is middleweight champion Anderson Silva’s debut at light heavyweight against James Irvin. Vera is coming off a pair of losses to Tim Sylvia and Fabricio Werdum and is looking to get back in the win column against Andy, a former IFL fighter. I recently spoke with Vera about the fight and a variety of other hot topics in the MMA world.
MMA Stomping Grounds: How did this fight with Andy come together?
Brandon Vera: I told the UFC I wanted to fight ASAP. They came in with a whole bunch of different options and I guess you could say I just took it.
MMA Stomping Grounds: Did they offer you any other fighters besides Reese Andy?
Brandon Vera: They offered me Dan Henderson, Wanderlei Silva, Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou, Lyoto Machida and then Reese Andy. I turned down Machida. He’s not someone you take on short notice. You gotta get ready for Machida. The other fighters turned down the other fights so that’s how we came to Reese.
MMA Stomping Grounds: With you moving down to 205 and with Rich Franklin and Anderson Silva moving up to 205, do you feel more pressure to win knowing this is the most stacked division in the UFC?
Brandon Vera: No, not at all. I’m not worried about it. I don’t succumb to pressure like that at all and don’t think about stuff like that. There are a lot of great fighters I’m excited to fight but I’m not feeling any pressure.
MMA Stomping Grounds: If you and Anderson Silva both win, would you be willing to fight him at 205?
Brandon Vera: I would be willing to fight anyone they put in front of me. [The UFC's light heavyweight division] is stacked like you said, for sure, so I’m down to fight any of those guys whenever.
MMA Stomping Grounds: Andy isn’t a household name for a lot of fans, so what can you tell us about him?
Brandon Vera: He’s a three-time All-American wrestler. He’s tough and likes to take people to the ground and pound them. He’s competed in Abu Dhabi a couple times so his grappling level is pretty good. And he’s always in shape.
MMA Stomping Grounds: How important is it for you to get back on the winning track against him?
Brandon Vera: I don’t worry about getting back on the winning track, I just worry about having a good performance and showing what I can do in every fight. It’s just another fight and every fight is equally as important as the last one for me. We’ve been training hard and I took five days off after my last fight and got right back into it.
MMA Stomping Grounds: What did you think of the Forrest Griffin-Rampage Jackson fight at UFC 86?
Brandon Vera: Honestly, I didn’t know who won the fight. I thought it was a coin toss. It was so close and I was very disappointed in the judges' unanimous decision, I thought that was [expletive deleted]. I didn’t think Forrest won that [by that] wide [a margin] but I was cool with either fighter winning. It was a great fight. For them to say it was that one-sided and unanimous, I thought that was [expletive deleted].
MMA Stomping Grounds: If you could fight anyone in the sport in your next fight, who would you want?
Brandon Vera: Fabricio Werdum. I lost to him last time because of a [expletive deleted]-call by the ref, so I for sure want to fight him again ASAP.
MMA Stomping Grounds: You beat Frank Mir by technical knockout at UFC 65 -- do you think he earned a title shot after defeating Brock Lesnar at UFC 81?
Brandon Vera: Hell no. It upsets me but you can’t dwell on it. It is what it is. The UFC has given him a title shot, so what can you do? The powers that be I guess.
MMA Stomping Grounds: What do you think about Lesnar?
Brandon Vera: He’s cool. I’m kinda disappointed he’s in the big league so far but I’d like to see him in the second round. He didn’t pay his dues and earn his way into the UFC -- he got in because his name is Brock Lesnar. I can’t hate on the guy, I don’t hate him, I’m happy for him. He’s doing his thing and making money. He’s in the UFC but I don’ t like the situation, how he got in.
MMA Stomping Grounds: With the UFC expanding globally, there’s a lot more opportunities to fight outside the U.S. If you could fight anywhere in the world for your next fight, where would you want to have that card?
Brandon Vera: In the Philippines. I’d want to fight there for sure. I’m Filipino, so I’d have to be on that card. The UFC is pretty good about stuff like that. It would be easy, they would put me on that card.
MMA Stomping Grounds: If you could change one thing about the sport, what would it be?
Brandon Vera: I don’t know. There are a lot of things going on I like and a couple things I don’t like. I guess, uh, the scoring and the refereeing. I’d adjust that somehow. There has to be a constant variable and not always a judgment call but then again, it’s MMA, you have to have judgment calls. I don’t know, something with scoring.
MMA Stomping Grounds: What’s it like to have a wife who is also a fighter?
Brandon Vera: It’s really cool that that’s what we do. It makes it easy for training and traveling and stuff.
MMA Stomping Grounds: What’s one thing most people don’t know about you that you think they should?
Brandon Vera: I’m a big geek. I’m a super geek. I have remote-controlled cars, Xboxes, and I watch kung fu flicks all day.
More recent MMA Q&As: