When the UFC announced on June 6 that their fourth network television event on FOX was set to be headlined by a light heavyweight contest between Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua and Brandon Vera, a lot of people were left scratching their heads.
Having Rua, a former 205-pound champion, fight in the main event was not surprising, but it was his choice in opponent, Vera, a fighter who is 1-2 with one no content is his last for bouts and currently ranked nowhere near the top-10 in the division, that had many confused.
The 34-year-old Vera was once considered one of the top prospects in all of MMA, starting his career with an 8-0 record including four wins in the Ultimate Fighting Championship. In the years that followed, a series of disappointing performances, management problems and injuries prevented ‘The Truth’ from ever living up to the potential spectators of the sport saw in him.
“You can’t call my career an arch. It’s more like peaks, valleys, peaks, hell.” Vera said on the Road to the Octagon countdown show for UFC on FOX 4. “I know where I’ve fallen too, I know where I need to go and I know the path that I need to take.”
Vera (12-5, 1 NC) has been brutally honest with himself about the ups and downs he has faced in his career to this point and he knows the chance to face a top-5 ranked light heavyweight in Rua is an opportunity to make everyone forget about his poor performances in the past and vault himself back into relevance.
“‘Shogun’ for sure is a shortcut to that path (towards the title),” he explained. “Everything that I’ve worked for, everything that has happened to me – the injuries, the contract disputes, everything has led me to this moment.”
“This is going to be the moment that defines my career. This is the opportunity that can erase all the bad that’s ever happened to me.”
The San Diego native is fully aware that he is a significant underdog coming into the fight; however, it is a role that he relishes.
For the people who think he is being thrown to the wolves on Aug. 4, Vera has a final message.
“They brought me into this fight as a fish for ‘Shogun’ to eat. What they don’t realize is this fish is a shark ready to eat ‘Shogun’.”
Mike Bohn, founder and lead writer of FightCove.com, wrote this article. You can follow Mike on Twitter at @FightCoveMike. Also, be sure to follow @FightCove on Twitter and “Like” Fight Cove on Facebook.