by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
When Brandon Vera moved down to 205 pounds, just about everybody expected him to be an instant contender in the division after doing well while competing at heavyweight.
The results have varied so far with Vera going 3-2 in the division, with four decisions along the way. Now, he is poised to get back to what made him great, and he’s promising to go back to what made him the flashy and charismatic star that burst on the scene just over four years ago.
As he heads into his main event bout against Jon Jones at UFC on Versus 1, Vera has put aside the road blocks that made him look less than his best in his last few fights. As a matter of fact, he’s going out to hurt people this time around, and the days of fooling around are over.
“I stopped believing in the hype, I stopped worrying about what people think. I’m going back in there just trying to hurt people again like I used to,” Vera said. “When I first came out, I would just bang on people and roll with people just to see them break.
“I got away from that somehow. I don’t know what happened. I got sucked into the MMA world of trying not to disappoint people. I’m over it, I want to go back in there and start doing things like I used to.”
Training in Big Bear, Calif., for this camp to adjust to the altitude that he’ll feel in Broomfield, Colo., on fight night, Vera has worked extensively with training partners like WEC champion Dominick Cruz to help prepare his footwork and speed for a very unorthodox fighter in Jones.
Add to that, Vera believes that there is still an unknown factor about Jones heading into this fight, and that inexperience could play a big role in who wins.
“I remember when I was still young to the game there was things I still didn’t like, there was still things I needed to work on that come with experience, so hopefully I get to exploit those and show some holes in Jones’ game,” said Vera.
“The only things we can really, really find is inexperience. His game is tight, his striking is good, his defense, his footwork is good. We’ve been studying him for a while and his biggest weakness is his inexperience, that’s the only ‘X’ factor in this game.”
As previously mentioned, Vera has left his fate in the hands of the judges more times than he’d like to remember, so this time around, with a stylistic match-up that’s almost guaranteed to bring fireworks, there will be no decision at the end of the night.
“Jones has shown in all his last fights trying to finish people,” said Vera. “He’s not trying to take edges. I’ve been trying to finish fights. I’m actually getting more and more comfortable at the 205-pound division. It’s a different pace, a different game.”
For the first ever UFC on Versus card, the promotion has selected two of the most intense and high paced fighters in the sport, and Vera believes it will be a crowd pleaser for sure.
“I don’t think they could have set up a better fight for the first Versus card,” he said.
Both fighters have closed out camp and now it’s down to the business of fighting. Vera and Jones will meet at the newly minted 1st Bank Center this Sunday night live on Versus.