The following is part two of a very entertaining two part interview with Brandon “The Truth” Vera, top contender in the UFC heavyweight division – who fights former champion Frank Mir at UFC 65 “Bad Intentions” on November 18th. To check out part one of the interview, click here.
Luis Cruz for MMANews.com: What do you think about Mirko?
Brandon Vera: Mirko kicks that ass. The K-1 kickboxing world came over to MMA. Not the other way around.
Luis Cruz: That's right, he came from K-1 to MMA.
Brandon Vera: K-1 yeah, I mean f*** he's a bad ass. His only weakness is the ground, because no matter how hard he trains on the ground right now he's still going to be a little bit behind everyone else who's already been training the ground from a long time ago.
Luis Cruz: He's actually picked it up quite a bit, he pretty much nulled Fedor's ground and pound when they fought. He did pretty well, he just kind of gassed.
Brandon Vera: Yeah, think about it though if he went in and fought on the ground with Nogueira again I would put my money on a sure bet that Nogueira makes him tap out again.
Luis Cruz: I agree.
Brandon Vera: Oh yeah.
Luis Cruz: Have you seen his [CroCop's] knockout of Vanderlei Silva?
Brandon Vera: Holy shit, did I. Yeah. I want to knock somebody out like that. I want to kick someone's head off and split it all open and make 'em slump back. Jesus christ. Man that shot itself should be worth a million bucks.
Luis Cruz: [laughing] Yeah, that was certainly a dominating performance [laughing]
Brandon Vera: Yeah, that was f***ed it up [laughs]. Man that was crazy. I did not see the fight going like that, I thought it was gonna be a lot closer than that [laughing].
Luis Cruz: Yeah, everybody did.
Brandon Vera: Holy shit [still laughing].
Luis Cruz: What about their [PRIDE] light heavyweight division as compared to UFC's with Silva, Shogun, Arona, the other Nogueira, etc?
Brandon Vera: They have well rounded fighters too, I think that division is even. It's even stevens I think, I mean Arona has been over, Silva's been beat by Tito granted that was younger in his game but Tito's gotten better as well. I think it's even, straight up. I think it'd be a good show to put on light heavyweight's versus light heavyweight's, PRIDE versus UFC. It'd be such an awesome show.
Luis Cruz: Now let me ask you this, do you think there's anybody in the UFC light heavyweight division that can beat Shogun?
Brandon Vera: Umm [very long pause]
Luis Cruz: [laughing] That's a long time to be thinking..
Brandon Vera: I know.
Luis Cruz: [laughs] To me, he's number one overall.
Brandon Vera: Yeah, Chuck could beat him and honestly I think Forrest Griffin could beat Shogun. His style is different. Like Forrest is a gamer, you know what I'm saying? He's always game and his style, I think, matches up well with Shogun.
Luis Cruz: I'd probably throw in Rashad before Forrest against Shogun.
Brandon Vera: Oh Rashad, yes he would be a good one too.
Luis Cruz: I don't know, I think Shogun would beat them all with Chuck Liddell having the best chance. Because Chuck always has that one shot and he can put anybody's lights out.
Brandon Vera: Dude, I'd love to fight Shogun. That'd be a bad ass fight. Me and him would match up well. Me and my coach were talking about me fighting him back at the house when watching the PRIDE show. Shogun was fighting and I was like “yeah man, that would be a good fight.” My coach started smiling, he was like “yep.”
Luis Cruz: By the time that comes around, when PRIDE and UFC start to come around on the fighter sharing issue.
Brandon Vera: Nah, I'd already be retired dude [laughs].
Luis Cruz: [laughs]
Brandon Vera: By the time that happens, I'd probably be retired.
Luis Cruz: Well you never know. He could come over at some point.
Brandon Vera: Yeah but UFC and PRIDE hate each other right now.
Luis Cruz: Yeah I know, I was saying he [Shogun] could come over himself and sign say a three-fight contract or something. Anything could happen, but I mean who knows. You guys could both be champs and maybe then they could come up with something.
Brandon Vera: That would be good. I mean that would be a …jesus christ, I think me and Shogun fighting would be insane almost. He does a lot of flying stuff coming out of Chute Boxe and has a Chute Boxe-feel to his game. I mean, that would be a bad ass fight.
Luis Cruz: Now real quick let me ask you this. How does a fight with Sylvia and Fedor go?
Brandon Vera: Sylvia and Fedor?
Luis Cruz: Yeah.
Brandon Vera: For the first round I think it's boring. Tim would just be jabbing him around. Jabbing, jabbing, jabbing and moving around. And then second round I think Fedor would just figure it out and start scoring to the body heavy [starts laughing] and then just start swinging to the head after that. I don't see Tim, I just don't see Tim beating Fedor. He's not, I don't wanna say he quits, because he's structurally sound. But Tim's game plan, the way he fights – I don't think it'd work against Fedor.
Luis Cruz: Nah I don't think so either. I don't think his jab would be enough to keep him away for long [laughs].
Brandon Vera: Yeah, exactly [laughs]. That's Tim's fight. Jabs. Until you make a mistake and then he'll punch you good and then just keeps jabbing again.
Luis Cruz: I think Fedor's speed is extremely, I don't know how to tell you…
Brandon Vera: …Yeah, I tell you [about Tim's jabbing] Fedor would get fed up with it and just f***ing punch Tim in his elbow while he's throwing a jab, and break his arm again.
Luis Cruz: I just think looking at him [Fedor], you can't tell how fast he really is.
Brandon Vera: Exactly, because he's a fat little pudgey dude. It's a bad stereotype.
Luis Cruz: That's what Tim said about him [laughing]
Brandon Vera: Yeah, I mean that's what he's like until he punches you in the stomach and busts your spleen open.
Luis Cruz: [laughing] Alright, and real quick what about Chuck and Vanderlei?
Brandon Vera: Chuck and Vanderlei? That's a toss up. Man, I was really excited about seeing that fight. The thing is, Vanderlei wins when he's going forward, Chuck wins when he's going backwards [laughs]. So I wanted to, oh man, I was so looking forward to seeing that fight. I was pissed off when I found out it wasn't going to happen.
Luis Cruz: Yeah, so was everyone else [laughing]
Brandon Vera: Everybody. Yeah, I don't know I mean…
Luis Cruz: …It's a guaranteed stand-up war.
Brandon Vera: Oh yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah. For sure. I don't think either one of them would want to go to the ground just to prove what's going on. If I fought either one of them and we happened to end up on the ground, I'm keeping it on the ground. I wouldn't let either one of them back up [laughs]. I wouldn't stand up with them forever.
Luis Cruz: Yeah, especially with Chuck that'd probably be the smart thing to do.
Brandon Vera: Yeah.
Luis Cruz: Now, alright let's shift back to you. People are holding you in a high regard. I mean, you have a lot of hype surrounding you. Well, not hype I mean you're a huge prospect. Does that effect you in any way? Does it make you more nervous?
Brandon Vera: Nah, I don't care about that stuff. I don't care about my record. I don't care about the hype. I'm just Brandon Vera, the truth, and I just, man I'm trying to get paid. I just want to get paid, travel and train. That's it. I don't care about none of that other stuff. I don't care about being famous. I don't care about walking down the street and people recognize me or have people say, “oh my god you're the best!” I don't care about that stuff. I know who I am and I know what I do and I know why I do what I do. So. That's all I really need and if I have the fans behind me, my family, my friends.
Luis Cruz: That's got to be nice.
Brandon Vera: Huh?
Luis Cruz: That's got to be nice. I mean first of all to be undefeated, and second of all it's got to be nice to walk down the street and people recognize you. That's got to be some joy to that [laughs]
Brandon Vera: It's cool. Yeah, it's ok. But the undefeated part? I realized a long time ago how unimportant that was because I was undefeated wrestling in high school in my junior or senior year. I started to get real big I had to sit back and decide which division I was gonna fight a kid from…. You see because there was a division II school and I was in a division III school, the biggest school so it was like the ghetto school [the kid's school I would be fighting]. And I thought I was gonna just whoop his ass because I was the undefeated who-hah, whatever I thought I was. Then I got, not smashed, but dude he beat me soundly. I walked off that mat and I never ever forgot that lesson, man. Never ever in my life will I ever forget that lesson. So for me, it's not about the record anymore. I mean, you're going to win some, you're going to lose some, it doesn't matter who you are. And it's just, that's just how it is for the record. To me it doesn't bother me at all, I don't even think about my record. People will ask me what my record is, and I'll be like “uhh…6-0? maybe 8-0? 7-0 or something like that?” And they'll ask me, “you've never lost” and I'll be like “yeah, I lost in kickboxing.” So I always have to explain to people that I have lost. I've lost in kickboxing before. I lost to the world champion WK in a split decision. So I mean, I tell people that I've lost. You know what I mean? It's not a big deal to me, I don't care about the record.
Luis Cruz: Now I've talked to you quite a bit in the past. And that's one thing I tell people about you is that you're very down to earth. You're one of those guys who don't forget where you came from. You don't forget about your friends that you grew up with. That's what I get from talking to you.
Brandon Vera: For sure, Luis. That's how I am. When I go home I still look to kick it with my friends. I don't kick it with the new people who you know what I'm saying, people from back in the day. I still keep it real. I'm still ghetto when I need to be [laughs].
Luis Cruz: Alright, I got three questions for you – we've done this before on the radio show [CFZ Radio – http://radio.mmanews.com] in the Get2Know feature for Brandon Vera. It's three questions outside of MMA.
Brandon Vera: Uht oh [laughs]
Luis Cruz: The first one I don't even know. I don't know what you know about George Bush. Do you follow politics?
Brandon Vera: A little bit.
Luis Cruz: Have you been following the election?
Brandon Vera: No, no I haven't.
Luis Cruz: Alright, well eh.
Brandon Vera: What? Fill me in man, fill me in.
Luis Cruz: I looked right before I called you up and it was down to Virginia to decide who's going to have control of the Senate. They still wasn't decided, it was so close I think they had to do a re-count. But I'm assuming you're pulling for the Democrats a little bit. Bush's decisions can get overwrote by them.
Brandon Vera: Yes and no. The last time the Democrats controlled the Senate it was bad for big businesses. They passed a lot of…, they taxed heavy to people who were actually working hard to make money. They're more for the blue collar than I guess the white collar. And I'm in the middle of blue and white, I guess you could say [laughs].
Luis Cruz: Yeah, yeah.
Brandon Vera: I don't wanna be paying heavy on taxes. There's pro's and con's. Whatever can stop George Bush from doing whatever the hell he's doing, I'm for it. For right now. So, just short term? Yeah [laughs].
Luis Cruz: [laughing] We got two more years.
Brandon Vera: I know, that guy's an idiot man. He can't even talk. It doesn't matter whoever they put as President next, he's f***ed! Doesn't matter if it's Democrat, Republican, Independant or even an alien. He f***ed it, no one's gonna be able to clean up this mess in four years. Whoever gets to be President next, he's still going to look like an asshole, because he's not going to be able to do anything.
Luis Cruz: He's going to spend his entire term trying to fix George Bush's mistakes [laughing]
Brandon Vera: [laughing] Yeah. And then when that's all said and done, he's still going to be an asshole too.
Luis Cruz: We'll keep that in mind for the next one.
Brandon Vera: And the one after that.
Luis Cruz: Well that might be a woman.
Brandon Vera: Oh, if it's a woman. She might be able to clean up some shit.
Luis Cruz: Ole' Hillary Clinton. Alright, my next question is outside of MMA – what are your short term goals in life. I know we talked off-air about you wanting to meet the president of the Philippines, Gloria Arroyo is it?
Brandon Vera: Arroyo, yeah. Short term goals?
Luis Cruz: Yeah, and long term.
Brandon Vera: Short term goals is to keep my health, go to the Philippines. Start concentrating on my businesses, I have a couple different businesses that I'm doing. After this fight I'm going to go ahead and reinvest and start actually do things with what I've been supposed to be doing. Instead of floating along.
Luis Cruz: Now, can I be a little nosey and ask you what those businesses are?
Brandon Vera: Not yet.
Luis Cruz: Alright [laughs]
Brandon Vera: Not yet, Luis [laughing]. Umm, what else? They're all legit though, it'll all be legal [laughing]. I guess long term is just to start setting up a fund and put it away for my family. And start planning for a family, I guess. I want to start becoming more mature and I want to have all of that together I guess within the next four or five years.
Luis Cruz: Now, when do you see kids in your future?
Brandon Vera: I don't know, maybe three or four years? Three or four more years.
Luis Cruz: You just got married if people don't know, so I figured I'd ask. I figured kids is next!
Brandon Vera: Hell naw. I like traveling still.
Luis Cruz: I hear you.
Brandon Vera: I like doing what I'm doing, so. And I can't train the way I want to train if I have children. I won't. I won't be able to.
Luis Cruz: Alright, I could understand that it's a handful, take it from me.
Brandon Vera: Unless the UFC is paying thirty million a fight. Then I could afford a nanny. Buy me a babysitter with it.
Luis Cruz: The last question I got for you is if you could just tell the fans something they might not guess or know about you.
Brandon Vera: [long pause] Umm. Yeah, even though I fight in the UFC – I'm still broke.
Luis Cruz: You're still broke?
Brandon Vera: Yeah [laughing].
Luis Cruz: You just bought a house, how are you broke! Or are you broke because of the house?
Brandon Vera: I think that's what it is [laughing].
Luis Cruz: [laughing] Alright Brandon, before I let you go is there anything you want to say to your fans directly? Or any sponsors you want to mention?
Brandon Vera: I just want to thank everybody for supporting me. I want to thank everybody for helping me over at BrandonVeraTraining.com. For the support that they've showed me. Because some of the training days man, if I didn't have my blog and the input I got from my fans directly it'd be long days. Longer days than it usually is. So to those people I just want to say thanks.
Luis Cruz: Alright, thanks again for joining me Brandon. Hopefully next time we talk we have the radio show back up and we can get you back on there. We'd like to wish you luck in your upcoming fight with Mir, and we just look forward to big things from you actually. I'm expecting one of those title reigns next year. We'll definitely have you on the show again when it's back.
Brandon Vera: Thanks man, I appreciate that.
Luis Cruz: I'll send you a shout out when you win.
Brandon Vera: [laughs] Good stuff.
Luis Cruz: Alright Brandon, that's all for this time – look forward to talking to you again in the future.
Brandon Vera: You too Luis, thanks for the time.
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