ONE Heavyweight World Champion Brandon “The Truth” Vera knows he will face his toughest challenger yet when he returns to the Circle later this year.
The Filipino-American has successfully defended his coveted belt twice and earned a pair of highlight-reel knockout victories in the process.
However, Canadian-Indian wrestling icon Arjan “Singh” Bhullar brings a whole new level of threat to the heavyweight ranks.
This is something “The Truth” understands, but that also happens to be the type of challenge that excites him.
“I’m very excited to be fighting Arjan Bhullar and to defend our ONE Heavyweight World Title. I think he is probably the best candidate to come face me,” Vera says.
“This guy is the real deal. I respect this guy tremendously. His wrestling is ridiculous. He comes from a school just like where I came from – huge pedigree.”
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Vera is referring to Bhullar’s extraordinary wrestling background.
The 33-year-old wrestler won a gold medal at the 2010 Commonwealth Games and represented Canada at the 2012 Summer Olympic Games.
In 2014, he transitioned his phenomenal grappling skills to mixed martial arts, where he has since compiled a 10-1 professional record.
Most recently, “Singh” out-struck former ONE World Title challenger Mauro “The Hammer” Cerilli in his promotional debut to earn a unanimous decision victory at ONE: CENTURY PART II last October.
Though Bhullar is highly regarded for his wrestling pedigree, it was his boxing that won him the contest and caught the attention of the division’s reigning king.
“This guy has amazing boxing that nobody’s talking about,” Vera says. “This guy’s boxing is ridiculous. His head movement is crisp. He’s fast, and he likes to stay in the pocket.”
Bhullar also brings another important element to the Circle – his conditioning.
It is unusual to see heavyweight athletes compete for three to five hard rounds in mixed martial arts competition, but the former Olympian has shown his ability to maintain a high pace of activity throughout the duration of a bout.
The Filipino-American knows very few heavyweights possess this trait, so he must figure out a way to slow his adversary down.
“Arjan has more gas than most heavyweights, and that’s something really different about him,” Vera admits.
“He knows how to pace himself. Most heavyweights don’t know how to pace themselves. I’m going to have to push and test and poke in different places that he is not used to.”
“The Truth” does not anticipate this bout going to the judges’ scorecards, however.
Vera, who has defeated all four of his heavyweight opponents in ONE Championship via knockout in the first round, wants to keep his finishing streak alive.
“We’re [going to be] in a championship fight,” he says. “It needs to be decided between us, not the three people watching.”