Brandon Vera enjoys being a dad as he braces for ONE title defense
MANILA, Philippines—ONE World heavyweight champion Brandon Vera has taken no shortcuts in his title defense against Arjan Bhullar but that doesn’t mean he’s slacking off at the most important duty of all—being a father.
While he has his team helping him for his fight in the cage at Singapore Indoor Stadium on May 15, Vera has his wife Jessica to count on in raising their son Atreyu Timothy.
“All of this, even though it’s just me inside that Circle, it’s not really just me. It’s all of us. When I talk about fighting, it’s usually ‘we’ and ‘us’ and ‘our’ title,” said the 43-year-old Vera.
“This camp was a little bit different because we have a baby. I didn’t really notice because if it was sleeping time, if I needed to nap or if I needed to do something, and our son Atreyu was being loud or was being a baby, you know he wants to hang out and wants to go play, Nenja (Jessica) would go with him in a different part of the house and play with him so that I could rest.”
Vera (16-8) has held the heavyweight title since 2015 after defeating Paul Cheng for the strap and has since defended the championship two times in 2016 and 2018.
His five fights in ONE Championship have all ended in knockout wins except for his last one against Aung La N Sang when he challenged the Burmese Python for the light heavyweight title in 2019.
That fight was Vera’s first foray into a light heavyweight, more than seven years since he’s been in the division, with his last fight in that weight class being a technical knockout loss against former UFC champion Mauricio “Shogun” Rua in the main event of UFC on Fox 4.
Teaming up with family
While he prepares for Bhullar for his third title defense, Vera said he could count on Jessica to be the rock at home for him and their son.
The heavyweight champion said that being an early riser allows him to play with Atreyu Timothy, allowing Jessica to sleep in a little more.
“The teamwork makes the dream work, and Nenja is my godsend. She made it so easy, I don’t even have to worry about being a new father. She makes it so that all I have to worry about is training. She does all this while taking care of the baby and still getting me ready for all of the stuff we’re doing, from training to moving, to getting ready to go to the events. She takes care of all of it,” said Vera.
“The only thing I’ve ever really been doing on the regular, because I’m the early riser, I’m the one who wakes up first, is I take Atreyu out of the bed with me and I get to feed him and I get to play with him in the morning before practice, so that Nenja can sleep a bit longer. It’s kind of cool because I’m the early riser. Nenja likes to sleep in, so it’s absolutely perfect.”