Brandon Vera set for heavyweight title defense in December
Brandon Vera returns to the site of his biggest conquest to defend the title later this year.
ONE Championship vice president Rich Franklin announced on Tuesday that the 38-year-old will headline the card when the promotion returns to Mall of Asia Arena on December 2.
Vera, the reigning ONE Heavyweight Champion, is set to defend his title against still an unnamed opponent, but the Fil-Am bruiser can’t hide his excitement for his upcoming fight.
“I just learned that today. There were rumors and today, when Rich announced it, I finally know,” he said.
He won the crown after knocking out Paul Cheng on December 11 last year.
Since he settled in the country for good, Vera shared that he’s been relentless in pushing himself to be in tip-top shape as he awaits for the announcement of his next showdown.
“I’ve been training since I got here in the Philippines,” he said. “I didn’t know when I was fighting, but I’m already training. I’m excited and ready to train more.”
But it won’t be just like any other training camp, as Vera is hell-bent on training exclusively here in the Philippines unlike his previous buildups which were largely held in the United States.
“From training facilities, to training partners, to coaches, mas iba talaga sa States. Hindi naman kulang ang puso cause people know how to fight here, people know how to not quit. Matindi talaga ang Pinoy,” he said. “Ang kulang dito is the skillset and experience is missing, but it’s the easier part so let’s bring it here. Everybody has to start working together.”
Vera acknowledges that the task is going to be difficult, but it’s a part of his crusade to further bring mixed martial arts closer to the Filipino audience.
“My training partners have kids and they’re not coming to the Philippines for two to three months to train here. I have to fly them in and it’s going to be costly. But yun ang gusto ko and I need to make that happen and make that possible,” he said. “Even when I’m not training, I’m happy that I’m here in the Philippines. I feel comfortable here. Mas masaya ako dito sa Pilipinas.”
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.