In 2005, Brandon Vera burst onto the MMA scene with three impressive victories—a first-round knockout of Andre Mussi in the 2005 WEC heavyweight grand prix semifinals, a second-round TKO over Mike Whitehead to become the 2005 WEC heavyweight grand prix champion and a second-round TKO over Fabiano Scherner in his UFC debut.

Vera followed up his stellar 2005 with an even more impressive 2006, which included a first-round knockout of Justin Eilers, a first-round submission over Assuerio Silva and an impressive first-round TKO of former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir. The victory over Mir secured Vera a shot at the UFC’s then-heavyweight champion, Tim Sylvia.

It truly looked as if the UFC had finally found a star to make the heavyweight division relevant. Vera was supremely talented and incredibly confident, even going as far as stating that he would win the heavyweight title, then drop down to light heavyweight and win that title as well. However, Vera’s “hot prospect” status quickly faded.

Following his bout with Mir, Vera could not come to an agreement with the UFC on contract terms. As a result, his title shot was given to Randy Couture. Vera finally made his return to the UFC in October 2007, losing to Sylvia. Following a loss to Fabricio Werdum in June 2008, Vera made the move down to light heavyweight.

Vera started his light heavyweight run off strong, going 3-1 in his first four bouts, but then the train came off the tracks. In his last six fights in the UFC, Vera had an abysmal record of 1-4 with one no-contest (the no-contest was originally a loss for Vera).

That lack of production in the cage resulted in Vera’s release from the UFC roster. But all is not lost. Asia’s biggest MMA promotion, ONE FC, was quick to sign Vera. Now, “The Truth” has an opportunity to revive his career.

Although ONE FC’s light heavyweight and heavyweight divisions do not have near the talent that exists in the promotion’s lighter-weight divisions, there are some solid match-ups for Vera to explore regardless of the weight class he chooses to compete in.

At light heavyweight, he could face Vincent Majid, a national judo champion who is just starting his MMA career, or Jake Butler, a former NCAA Division I wrestler, or Cristiano Kaminishi, the Heat heavyweight tournament champion.

Should Vera decide to fight at heavyweight, he could potentially face undefeated Dynamite heavyweight champion Chi Lewis Parry, fellow UFC veteran James McSweeney or King of the Cage heavyweight champion Tony Johnson.

There are a myriad of interesting fights for Vera to take under the ONE FC banner, and a win over any of the aforementioned fighters would make Vera’s name somewhat relevant again in the world of MMA.

Sadly, though, time is not on Vera’s side. He’s 36 years old and his best fighting days are long behind him. Even if he were able to string together some wins, he’ll never be the champion many expected him to become one day.

The sport has passed Vera by. It’s not because he doesn’t have the skills, but rather because he doesn’t have the pure athleticism it takes to be a champion in MMA today.

About The Author

RJ Gardner
Content Coordinator

RJ Gardner is a rabid sports fan and a long time MMA enthusiast. After watching UFC 1 at ripe old age of 11 RJ was hooked and his passion for the sport has continued to blossom over the years. RJ has been covering MMA since 2007 and has had work featured on Bleacher Report, SI.com, CBSSports.com and UFC.com. RJ is also a Petroleum Transportation Operations Manager during the day.