ONE Championship’s heavyweight division has exploded in 2021, but Brandon “The Truth” Vera has no intention of losing his grip on the belt.
The longstanding king will face off against Arjan “Singh” Bhullar in his next ONE Heavyweight World Title defense at ONE: DANGAL which airs on Saturday, 15 May, and he can’t wait to enter the Circle against his toughest challenger yet.
“I’m excited and I’m nervous. I’ve been thinking about Arjan Bhullar for a long time. I’m excited to finally be able to have our contest,” Vera says.
“I respect Arjan — I’m giving him more respect than anybody else that I’ve faced because he’s the one standing in front of me. I want to find out what he’s got, I want to see how well he can take [what I’ve got], and I want to see if he can move with me.”
On his side of the equation, “The Truth” feels like his training camp at Sanford MMA — alongside fellow ONE stars Aung La “The Burmese Python” N Sang and Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen — has rejuvenated his love for the sport and pushed him to new heights.
At the Florida gym, Vera’s been able to focus solely on his own preparations, which he hopes will translate to a great performance.
“Making this move to Sanford MMA and making this commitment, it’s taken a lot of stress away from me as an athlete,” the Filipino-American says.
“I can just concentrate on being a student of the game and trying to catch up to everyone else in the room. I don’t have to worry about anything. I just have to make sure that I can finish practice and that I’m being a good training partner.”
- The Best Knockouts From The Superstars Of ONE: DANGAL
- Aoki Overcame ‘Fear’ In Folayang Win; Wants Northcutt, Akiyama Next
- Vera Vs. Bhullar World Title Fight Headlines ONE: DANGAL On 15 May
Of course, every bit of training camp will be crucial when Vera takes on the Indian wrestling sensation.
“Singh” is an Olympian and Commonwealth Games Wrestling Champion – which makes him the most dangerous grappler “The Truth” has had to contend with in ONE Championship — but the defending titleholder has also spent years crafting his own ground game.
“I have not trained as much wrestling or as much groundwork as I have since I’ve been here, so if we end up on the ground, then my ground game is there,” Vera says.
“It’s not something that everyone talks about, but I’ve trained with the best people in the entire world. From Dean Lister to the Ribeiro brothers, to Lloyd Irvin to Mike Fowler to Renzo Gracie, too. The list goes on and on.
“My jiu-jitsu is underrated because I don’t really like to be on the ground or looking for submissions. I’d much rather be on my feet trying to finish it, but if it goes to the ground, let’s see. Maybe I’ll pull it out. Maybe I’ll just get back to my feet. I don’t know. We’ll find out when we get there.”
Along with Bhullar’s wrestling pedigree, “The Truth” believes his rival will bring a plethora of mixed martial arts skills into their battle.
“He’s a very, very well-rounded opponent, and most people only talk about his wrestling. They don’t talk about boxing or his head movement, which is crazy to me, so that’s why I’m talking about it,” Vera adds.
“His boxing is ridiculous, man. He put hands on Mauro Cerilli in their last outing. He has very good hands, very good head movement, and he doesn’t mind staying inside the pocket.
“As a heavyweight, that’s very abnormal. You don’t have many guys who will stay in the pocket at heavyweight because that’s where all the heavyweights get knocked out.”
Still, the 43-year-old ONE Heavyweight World Champion will be ready for his rival’s offense. He’s had plenty of time to watch and prepare for “Singh,” and he thinks his own power will be a shock to the Indian star.
Plus, “The Truth” is more motivated than ever to continue his domination in The Home Of Martial Arts.
“I’m a lot faster than him. And we talked about him working in the pocket? It shows your power,” Vera states.
“His style in the pocket and mine are different. When we meet and he sees what mine is, we’ll find out if he wants to stay [there].
“My goal never changes. I make sure that I make a statement of who I am, why I’m the champion, and take that belt home with me every single time.”