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Old 06-30-2012, 06:08 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Vera: Does not care why Shogun said yes.

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Brandon Vera (12-5 MMA, 8-5 UFC) gets goose bumps every time he thinks about fighting Mauricio "Shogun" Rua (20-6 MMA, 4-4 UFC) at UFC on FOX 4.

Just the thought of fighting an MMA icon offsets the knowledge that Rua picked him as perhaps an easier opponent.

"I don't give a damn what his reasons are or what happened or how this came about," Vera told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).

Rua turned down Glover Teixeira when Thiago Silva re-injured his back and was forced to withdraw from their fight at UFC 149. A pink slip was threatened for the former champ, whose pass on the Teixeira fight was aired to the public. Rua countered that Vera's name was more valuable to his career.

Cynics would translate that to mean Vera is an easier fight for Rua than Teixeira, who blasted Kyle Kingsbury in his recent octagon debut. Vera has been around long enough to make that connection, and he's certainly familiar with the disappointment of fans who saw him go from top heavyweight contender to endangered light heavyweight.

The whys just don't matter to him at this point, he said. He's got the fight, and the fans and Glover Teixeira do not.

Vera said not even the stage – the FOX-televised main event of UFC on FOX 4, which takes place Aug. 4 at Staples Center in Los Angeles – or the stakes of the fight – that could see him released from the promotion with a bad loss – are oppressive forces.

"Everybody keeps reminding me that I'm fighting on FOX in the main event for five rounds," he said. "I don't even care about that, man. I'm fighting 'Shogun,' bro. I've wanted to fight 'Shogun' since I first saw him kicking people in the face with soccer kicks back in the day in PRIDE."

If there's any imminent threat to a good performance, it could be getting starstruck in the octagon. Vera's inner 10-year-old was going crazy – complete with sweaty palms and butterflies in his stomach – when the two recently did a segment with KTLA news in Los Angeles at a UFC gym.

"The last time I felt like this was when they told me I'd be fighting Randy (Couture)," he said, referring to a fight with the UFC Hall of Famer at UFC 105 that ended in a decision loss.

It's perhaps the image of Rua soccer-kicking opponents into oblivion that brings him back to reality. He's glad the two aren't meeting under the ruleset of the now-defunct PRIDE, which allowed such brutal strikes.

"I like elbows more than soccer kicks to the face," Vera said. "'Shogun' is a master of kicking people in the face. That's for sure not cool."

Rua's last appearance in the octagon was considered an instant classic. He and Dan Henderson went five bloody rounds at UFC 139, and though Henderson won the decision, Rua lost none of his stature. Inside the octagon, the former PRIDE and UFC champion has only fallen short to fellow champions: Forrest Griffin, Lyoto Machida and Henderson.

Vera's road has been far rockier. He was on the verge of being cut from the UFC following a loss to Thiago Silva at UFC 125. He was given a reprieve when Silva was suspended for submitting a fake urine sample, but he was flat in a return performance against Eliot Marshall and narrowly squeaked out a decision win. After winning his first four UFC fights as a heavyweight, he lost two straight to Tim Sylvia and Fabricio Werdum and moved down to the light-heavyweight class.

"It sucked," Vera said of his most recent fight. "I think I was nervous. There's two times I've felt like that. My very first fight in the UFC, and my last fight where with a loss I would have gotten cut."

With nearly a .500 win percentage as a light-heavyweight, Vera's career would be given a shot of adrenaline with a win over a former champion. That would appear to pile more on his proverbial plate in advance of the fight, but Vera said the stakes have, in fact, freed him to better perform.

"I have nothing to lose," he said. "I need to go out there and leave it all on the line. 'Shogun' brought me in thinking I'm going to be an easy win. The UFC is basically trying to hand 'Shogun' me on a platter. I have nothing to lose, man. So I think that's why I feel so alive now. I'm game."

Vera's bigger gripe was that interviews for the Aug. 4 event were cutting into his training time. Rua used to be a frequent visitor to the Alliance Training Center where he spends most of his time training, and the two several times worked out in the same room. They never sparred, however.

Vera was four weeks into a camp for a fight with James Te Huna on July 11 at "UFC on FUEL TV 4: Munoz vs. Weidman" when he got the call to fight Rua. Now, the calls come more frequently, and the underdog questions come along with them. Those are the product of the many setbacks he's met over the years. Betting lines don't look favorably upon him.

But along with those brutal soccer kicks, Vera has been thinking about something else lately. After he took a road trip this past year that turned into more of a vacation, he's been getting comfortable with the idea of correcting his flaws in unfamiliar gyms. In a recent trip to Australia, he said veterans Elvis Sinosic and Anthony Perosh taught him a few lessons. Then there's his camp in San Diego, where he works with a bevy of UFC veterans.

"Remember 'The Last Samurai,' when Tom Cruise was fighting and training, and the Japanese kid came up and told him that he had too many minds, that he minds this too much and that too much?" Vera said. "That's kind of where I've been.

"The road trip was cool, but I shouldn't have been on no damn road trip. I'm not retired. I don't have the luxury of going off for a month-and-a-half. I should have been training and learning more. Where I'm at now, and where I was then, I shouldn't have been there. I should have been doing everything else to become better as a fighter."

He has perhaps one last chance to show what he's learned on the big stage, and against one of his early heroes.

"Where I'm at today, the good, the bad, the ups and downs of my career – it's all led to this fight with 'Shogun,'" Vera said. "For whatever cosmic forces in the universe – karma, God, whatever you want to call it. I'm here, and this is my shot. I couldn't be more ecstatic."



Gosh its so weird to think that this guy was the most hyped prospect at one point. And tbh he actually managed to surpass the "prospect" portion and become "Legit". Then he got in to a argument with the UFC about his payscale and played hardball. He took a good amount of time off while negotiating with the UFC and eventually managed to sign a deal and he came back. He never looked the same since that break. The loss to
wasnt so bad but then it just went downhill.
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Old 06-30-2012, 12:01 PM   #2 (permalink)
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lol at the TIMMAAH gif. Yeah Vera's really gone downhill but so has Shogun. I actually think this will be a closer fight than most expect, Vera's right to be pumped. He could very well go home with a big W... I'm not betting on it and expect Shogun to take a close UD, but wouldn't be surprised if Vera clinched it.
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Old 06-30-2012, 12:11 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Shogun will win. There will be no other outcome.
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Old 06-30-2012, 09:05 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Vera IS an easy win without a doubt, he's only won against scrubs, he has nothing to bring to the table. Shogun is going to walk through him like nothing.
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Old 06-30-2012, 09:32 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Vera is a bum who had mild success vs. broken HWs in a time when HW sucked as a division. ANd that was like 6 years ago.

Vera was just on FACEBOOK prelims vs. focking Elliot Marshall....now he is a main event.

Joke.
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Old 06-30-2012, 09:47 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Cmon you guys, you all know Vera will one day hold both the HW and LHW belts simultaneously.

Seriously though, from a decision win over the mighty Eliot Marshall to fighting a legend who is coming off one of the best fights in MMA history? Yeah I get it.
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Old 07-01-2012, 09:30 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by rygu View Post
Cmon you guys, you all know Vera will one day hold both the HW and LHW belts simultaneously.

Seriously though, from a decision win over the mighty Eliot Marshall to fighting a legend who is coming off one of the best fights in MMA history? Yeah I get it.
Lets not forget this is what Shogun asked for. There's no reason to hold it against Vera that he got such a "promotion", it's all Shogun's camp and the UFC. Vera has everything in the world to gain here. The only chance he has of being the big loser is if he gets creamed early. Beyond that, this is a guy who is stepping up to provide at least some name notoriety for the card against an opponent most poeple don't give him a chance against. I for one, am not one of those people. I personally think Vera has a decent chance here to shock the world, and nothing against Shogun, but I hope he does.
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Old 07-01-2012, 09:49 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Lets not forget this is what Shogun asked for. There's no reason to hold it against Vera that he got such a "promotion", it's all Shogun's camp and the UFC. Vera has everything in the world to gain here. The only chance he has of being the big loser is if he gets creamed early. Beyond that, this is a guy who is stepping up to provide at least some name notoriety for the card against an opponent most poeple don't give him a chance against. I for one, am not one of those people. I personally think Vera has a decent chance here to shock the world, and nothing against Shogun, but I hope he does.
No one here is blaming Vera. Blaming the UFC for giving us crap. Vera said he wanted to hold 2 belts 7 years ago...so I guess they feel that is enough to put him in big fights once in a while.

Fact is the man would have been cut had Thiago just beat him the ol fashioned way. He was just on FACEBOOK Prelims.

I blame Shogun. He ducked Texeria and now the UFC had to give us Vera. They should have demoted Shogun from the main event and threw him on another card for ducking Texeria.

Would have been a happy camper had Shogun/Texeria been made. But Vera doesn't deserve main card let alone main event.

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Old 07-01-2012, 02:53 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Gonna root for Brandon in this one. With his recent record I don't think he belongs in there but it'd be an epic Rocky-style moment if he somehow pulled it off.

I don't think he's an awful fighter either, unlike some, he definitely beat Randy anyway.
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Old 07-01-2012, 05:11 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I know vera can be a prick sometimes but i really do like the guy. Vera is one of my friends on facebook, and it's really a delight. He manages it all on his own, responds to fans, post alot of stuff about his life and things. He's a really likeable guy after all that. And the guy never bitches. He had to fight jon jones and got his orbital broke, next fight goes against a tiger steroided thiago silva who breaks his nose, and despite that broken nose, was smiling at the beginning of round 3 and after the fight. I know the guy was a huge let down as far as prospects go but he is still a cool guy and someone you know will come to fight.
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