BRANDON VERA
    - Shad D. de Guzman


    Before becoming a UFC Fighter, 2x Pan-American Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) Champion, and an Abu Dhabi World Championship Competitor. What was your early career back then?

    I was working in telecommunications, installing cable and stuff for a company called PCOM, before the dot com probably went big in the US. That was pretty much it, I was a Telecommunications Installer, I did everything from PBX boxes to DSL, DSX panels, routers, and everything. I installed all the equipment that made the Internet stuff work. (laughs)


    How did you meet Lloyd Irvin?

    I've met Lloyd Irvin a long time ago when I first started doing Jiu-Jitsu, and I think I was a white belt then when I first met him. He actually walked up to me when I was a blue belt, he walked up to me and told me that I was doing really well for myself, and that I should keep going and do what I'm doing, and he noticed that I'm going on tournaments alone with no team, cutting weight by myself, I was placing second place and winning tournaments, all by my own, no coach or anything. So ever since that day, I kind of researched about him and learned what he is about, hung out with him more, I went and go to train with him.


    Can you please tell us more about Lloyd Irvin?

    I don't know how to explain it to anybody, me and Mike Fowler another teammate of mine, he also teaches at City Boxing Gym, we've tried to explain to everybody what and who Lloyd Irvin is and does. It's almost impossible to do because he's the only guy that can still beat my ass on a regular basis, and make me not want to fight MMA anymore. I don't know how many black belts I've trained with around the world ever since I was a blue belt and purple belt. I cannot compete with him, I don't know if it's because it's a father figure or like you know how you be able not to beat up your dad, because your dad will always whoop your ass? I don't know it's something like that, but the way he teaches, the way he pushes me, the way he makes me work, the way he can always get that extra 10% extra 20% out of me, he knows there's always more, he always pushes me to the regular point.


    You have tattoos on your back inked on the ancient Filipino writing called "Alibata" or "Baybayin." And clockwise, it reads Mundo (Earth), Hangin (Wind), Apoy (Fire), and Tubig (Water). These are the elements of nature. Why did you choose these characters? Is it because of that incident when you went surfing one day and sought to conquer the waves? Then the waves brought you down and gave you a profound respect for nature? Tell us more.

    Ever since that day I did have a new respect for nature, I started looking at things differently that day, granting myself some kind of cliché that I almost died in the wave, and I started to reflect when I was younger. But I did at a very young age started to understand that no matter who you are, it doesn't matter. God, nature, and there are so many other things out there that are bigger and better than you that can destroy you and make you realize that you're really just a spec of dust on this earth, in this universe. The four (4) tattoos on my back represents the flawlessness of the earth that I have a lot of respect for. It helps keep me levelheaded, I'm actually getting two (2) more tattoos done while I'm here in the Philippines, family and God on my thighs or my calf, again two (2) more things that are bigger than myself. So it helps keep me levelheaded, and I learn to appreciate things even more.


    And motivated?

    Exactly.


    Is it true that you stated that Manny Pacquiao is an inspiration for you to become great in Mixed Martial Arts (MMA)? What would you do if you get the chance to meet him?

    If I get the chance to meet Manny Pacquiao, the first thing that I'm going to say is what's up? And the next series of questions that I'm going to get out of him are ... I want to know how he get stronger every round that he fights. It's like if Manny doesn't beat you in the first two (2) or three (3) rounds, every round is just going to get worst and worst and worst for his opponent. And I want to know how to harness that, how can I get that, how can I be like that. If I can get pass the second round, let's say if a guy makes me pass the first round he makes me go the second round, and if he thinks he can handle me the second round, then I can't finish him, then it's the third round, I want to know how to punish him, I want to know how to get that ... I don't know where the hell he gets it from or what he has, but I want whatever he has ... I want that mojo.


    You need to meet Freddie Roach also, anyway, why choose "The Truth" as a nick?

    I didn't choose it, all my friends chose it for me.


    Some say you were born in the Philippines, some say in Norfolk, Virginia, and some say San Diego, California. I hope this next question doesn't offend you. It's just that a lot of people want to clear this up, and it concerns your nationality lineage, because you know how people are when it comes to racial discrimination. From what I know is that you are based in California right now, and that you do have a Filipino heritage in you. Can you please tell us more about yourself just to enlighten the masses, and so that we can get the facts straight once and for all?

    Sure, everybody has been asking me this question since I've been here in the Philippines, and probably most a lot in the States too. I was born in Portsmouth, Virginia, at the Portsmouth Naval Hospital. I was raised in Norfolk, Virginia, and then I moved to San Diego, California. My father is Filipino, my birth mother is Italian, I didn't know her till I was five (5) or six (6) years old. But my mother who raised me, I don't call her step mom, she's been there since I was three (3), and she's Pinay. My father remarried a Filipina, and I grew up in a Filipino household.


    I guess keeping the values alive is what makes anyone a true Filipino, and not because of citizenship or nationality, and that makes you more of a Filipino. If you don't mind me asking, you have a grandmother here in the Philippines right? How is she by the way?

    Last November, my grandmother got sick, she's 90 years old, and she has asthma real bad, and pneumonia and some other stuff. A lot of the families flew from Virginia to here, because we thought she wasn't going to make it. When they found out about it, we all flew the next day knowing that she might not make it, everybody was here. Fortunately, my relatives they got her good enough, well enough so that she could travel home, now that she's been home, she's been fine, she actually recovered, she's actually walking in the beaches again. She's 91 years old now, but she's acting like she's still 50. And she's okay. I think it was mostly from the smog in the air that was hurting her asthma. But it's sad though, because they just finished building a house for her here, and she can't enjoy it because she can't be in the smog.


    Glad to know she's doing okay now. Pollution is indeed killing us all slowly here in the Philippines, but there is still a lot of clean fresh air on the other islands. What can you say about the interview that you stated: "You make it well-known how uncomfortable you are on your feet, and that you would much rather battle opponents on the ground than stand and trade with them. And yet, you knock them out first hand. When they asked Fabiano Scherner and Justin Eilers how your ground game was, they only get blank stares. That's because they haven't seen it yet." But your recent bout with Assuerio Silva ended with a guillotine choke, so were you playing mind games then?

    No actually I wasn't, I don't like being on my feet with a heavyweight, anybody who is 200 or 220 lbs. and you get hit with a punch, you'll probably go to sleep if it's a solid clean punch. On the ground, you're not going to hit me on the ground, I'll probably going to control you, or I'll probably going to submit you, or I'll probably going to sweep you, I'm going to get the best position. I don't believe honestly there's anybody in the UFC ... maybe one (1) or two (2) guys that are better than me on the ground, but even if these guys are better than me on the ground ... it's an MMA fight, it's not like we're just going to do Jiu-Jitsu the whole time. I'm going to stall you out till we get back on our feet, and I'm going to punish these guys on my feet. I'm very comfortable on the ground, I'm okay on my feet, but I think me being okay comfortable on my feet is what's giving me the knockouts, so I'm so scared getting knocked out and trying to hit people real hard on my feet.


    On your own words, can you give us at least a brief summary of your previous fights for every opponent?

    Adam Rivera on Excalibur Fighting-11 (EEFC) last July 06, 2002.

    I feel bad that I fought Adam Rivera the way I did, I knocked out two (2) of his teeth, so for that fight, I'm sorry.


    Don Richard on Next Level Fighting (NLF) last September 13, 2003.

    Don Richard's my first fight in a big crowd. I think it was a venue of 3,000 people, I was nervous, and I just wanted to finish the fight. That was a hard fight, and it did not look good.


    Andre Mussi and Mike Whitehead on WEC-13 last January 22, 2005.

    Two (2) guys, one (1) night, both knockouts ... pretty easy. (grins)


    Fabiano Scherner on UFC "Fight Night-02" last October 03, 2005.

    The strongest guy I ever went within my life, he needs more cardio, and less muscles.


    Justin Eilers on UFC-57 "Liddell vs. Couture-03" last February 04, 2006.

    A good fight, I'm glad I caught him with a head kick and a knee to the head. Because if it's not, the fight could have went the other way. Justin likes to bang, so I'm glad it ended early.


    Assuerio Silva on UFC-60 "Hughes vs. Gracie" last May 27, 2006.

    Assuerio Silva made a mistake and I caught him, that's the name of the game ... that's how MMA goes.


    You've mentioned fighting Arlovski in the near future, anymore comment on this?

    No, I don't think Arlovski is in the picture right now, but that would be definitely a good fight, that would be a good ass fight.


    So when can we expect to see you in the cage with Liddell?

    When they want to pay me more. (laughs)


    What's holding the future for "The Truth?" Any other goals besides being successful in the martial arts industry?

    Become a successful businessman, take all the money that I made from MMA, turn it back in to other businesses and start grinding, make sure that my family is always set, and I'm not setting up businesses for failure, I'm setting up businesses to set up an empire, so when I'm done fighting I have this empire that I need to run with. I'm going to be managing businesses after I'm done. Helping fighters, still training fighters, but main focus ... I don't know, I'll probably have to balance it up between my businesses and fighting in the fight world, but I'll be done fighting within three (3) to five (5) years.


    Thank you very much, that would be all.



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