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Quotables - Brandon Vera Speaks "The Truth"

"Everybody’s seen me at my highs, they’ve seen me at my lows, and
everybody wants to see the story continue, and I’m not ready for it to
be done yet." - Brandon Vera, 2011

UFC light heavyweight Brandon VeraFor nearly seven years, Brandon Vera has been one of the most compelling figures in the UFC, and as he approaches his UFC on FOX main event with “Shogun” Rua on August 4th, little has changed in that respect. And if you need a reminder of the ups and downs of his stay in the Octagon, read on for a compilation of some of the most memorable quotes uttered by “The Truth.”



“Basically, I stated my goals in front of everybody.  If I say it, it makes me accountable for what I said.  I’m not one of those people who just talk; I actually have to work towards those goals.  I’ve always been like that.  I told my parents I wanted to get a scholarship to college, and I was telling everybody that when I was a freshman in high school and they were like ‘yeah, right.  For what, wrestling? You know how hard that is?’  And when I went into the Air Force and wanted to make the Air Force team, and wanted to make the Olympic team, I kept telling everybody, and the more people I told, the more I became accountable.”  


“For me, pressure is a good thing.  It keeps me sharp, it keeps me grounded and makes me want to work harder.”


“I actually didn’t start thinking about fighting until I saw everyone who was training at the Olympic Training Center stop wrestling and start fighting.  I said, ‘man, if they’re doing that, I can do that.  And get paid doing it?  I’m gonna start training.’ I was still dreaming about the Olympics, but when I saw everybody fighting, that planted the seed for what I’m doing now.  Wrestling for a Gold medal is fine and dandy and it’s some people’s dream, but my dream changed.  I didn’t want that anymore.  I need to start making money, I need to better myself.  In wrestling, you win a gold medal and then what?  Go to the WWE?  No thanks.”


“I promise it’s not the Art of War technique.  I really am way more comfortable on the ground than I am on my feet.”  


“There are a lot of people wanting things now, and before they didn’t want anything.  They didn’t want to talk to me and they weren’t offering money, and now people are.  It’s weird and hard to explain.  For me it’s a loyalty thing too.  People who were there with me from the beginning, I’m down to help them now.  But if you’re just trying to jump on because now you see this great product, it’s like AOL when it first exploded.  You know how the secretaries were millionaires when it first blew up, but everybody else who wanted to jump on board had to pay top dollar for the stock?  That’s kinda what it’s gonna be like now.”


“My whole training regimen for this fight has been ‘don’t think about the finish of the fight.’  I’m just gonna fight hard the whole time.  I’m gonna be in shape to do five five-minute rounds of Muay Thai, just straight bangin’, and on top of that, another five rounds of Brazilian jiu-jitsu.  So I’m not preparing for a short night; I’m preparing for a long night.  I don’t think I’m even gonna go out after the fight – this is gonna be a long night.”


“Damn. I want to be that guy. I remember saying that. (Laughs)  I was in a grocery store and it (an issue of Muscle & Fitness with Mir on the cover) was right there in the front by the register.  That’s when you know you made it, and I was trying to be that guy.  Now, I’ve got to fight that guy. Even before I was ever mixed into MMA, Josh Barnett and Frank Mir were my two favorite fighters.  And Frank Mir was the man.  He was making $80,000 to show, $80,000 to win, he had all the cars, the women, he was on the cover of Muscle & Fitness, he was real humble and didn’t talk smack – he just went in there and beat everybody down.  I used to want to be him. I’m looking forward to this fight, but it’s kind of unnerving. Fighting someone that I looked up to before is what I guess I’m having a hard time dealing with.  I talked to my wife and my team about it, and everybody short answers, ‘oh, it’s just another fight.’  I guess they don’t understand where I’m coming from then.  It’s like trying to beat up your eldest brother or someone you looked up to before.”  


“A lot of fighters have different motivational tools – I actually need to think I’m going all three rounds and that way when I’m training and tired and down and out, and they’re like ‘get your ass up’, I can get up because there might be an extra round.  There’s never been an overtime in UFC history, but there might be.  (UFC President) Dana (White) might jump on stage and say, ‘hey, you guys need to go into overtime.’ (Laughs)  So I always prepare for the worst case scenario and the pace that I fight at is the pace I’m gonna be fighting at all three rounds, and I get better in the second and third rounds.  I get faster, more agile, and more confident in those later rounds.  I always expect the worst and I prepare for the worst, so when it does end up ending early, I’m like ‘Thank the Lord, let me go home and get out of here.’”


“I’m having a good time with it.  It hasn’t interfered with my personal life.  I can only imagine what it would be like to be Tom Cruise or somebody like that.  I’m nowhere near that and I hope I never get like that – well, I can’t even say that because if you want to get the big money, you’ve got to be like that.  But I’m dealing with it.  My head’s still level, my sister jokes about it, and my mom and dad say that if I get a big head they’ll smack me, so it’s cool.  I’ve got a lot of people keeping me straight.”


“I love my Filipino roots, they love the fact that I speak Tagalog and that I’m coming back home to represent and that I’m proud to be Filipino. If you go out there, put on a show and show how much heart you have, the Filipino people will back you all the way, no matter what happens.”



“They’re all like ‘don’t let it bother you; you’ve got to deal with what’s in front of you.  They told me you can’t stare off and worry about what happened in the past.  If you do that you’ll never be able to move forward.”


“Some people must think I’m this kind of Superman who never gets nervous, but I get nervous – bad.  The other night I didn’t sleep until 4:30 in the morning and I had to train at 10, so for sure I get nervous. That’s why I get up and train in the morning, because I am nervous.  I’m nervous about that ‘what if’ factor.  It doesn’t matter how talented you are or how gifted you are, or how hard you work; this is MMA, and anything can happen.  It’s been proven time and time again this year; people who are supposed to win get smashed, people who are winning, get knocked out, so you can never prepare enough for a fight in the UFC.”



“There were so many good guys at the Olympic Training Center, and Randy was one of the better guys. I knew he was an Olympic alternate and good in college, but everybody there was so good. One day he was whipping your ass and the next day somebody else was shipping your ass. The ass whippings were rotational at the Olympic Training Center. (Laughs) I remember that he (Couture) was the first person I had ever seen do an armbar, and that’s before I knew what it was called. It was the arm lock thing with your legs.”



“If you watch Pacquiao’s early fights, when he lost some and won some and when he got dropped, and then look at him now, its two totally different people and that didn’t happen overnight. It took years. I look at him with awe and I wonder all the time how can I aspire to be like that. Pacquiao is a big influence in my career, and when times are hard, I think about everything – I think about family, I think about Pacquiao’s road through hardship in his career, everything.”


“I was somewhere off in my own world when he was on top of me, just moving him around, just chilling like everything was gonna be all right. I was thinking, ‘This is all the hype, this is what all the people were hyping you up about?’ No disrespect to Mr. Jones, especially not now, but I was thinking ‘man, really, this is all the hype? You f**king suck.’ Before I finished the word ‘suck’, that’s when the elbow smashed my face.” “Mr. Jones is a great fighter and I didn’t give him the respect that he deserved during that fight,” said Vera. “It was a good lesson learned and I thank him for it and I hate him for it at the same time.”


“My team sat me down when I first started training again and they told me that everybody was pissed at me. They said ‘You’re one of the most talented guys in the world and you could have the world at your feet and you’re not doing the things you’re supposed to be doing and you don’t believe in yourself like you used to. Why? And what can we do to help?’ And they’ve been kicking me in the ass and making me train, and putting it on me and making sure I’m doing the things I’m doing. I’m blessed to have a great team and great coaches that stay on me about that stuff. So after that meeting, I started thinking ‘I am the best 205-er in the world, I’ve just been bulls**tting. Let’s get back to it.”


“I forgot who I was for a while and I forgot what I was fighting for. I got lost and I took the easy path. I went and jumped on the path that was paved already with lights and direction signals instead of staying on the hard road and forging my own way.”


“It’s been a blessing in disguise. I’ve grown so much as a person growing up in the public eye. Fans have been able to see me at my highs and at my lows, and they’re about to see me back on my highs again and they’ll be able to understand that I’m a real person and not this super phenom that seems inhuman. I’m just like everybody else and I’ve had to go through my trials and tribulations to overcome my own demons and make this happen. I think that the fans will be able to appreciate me as a fighter and as a human being more because of this.”



“It was weird, man. After that fight I just felt confused. Nobody since the sixth grade had ever big brothered me, and that’s pretty much what Thiago did. Guys asked me what happened and I was like ‘man, I don’t know. He was #$%$ing strong.’ That’s the only thing I could think of.”


“I can’t explain it. Being fired and hired back and then driving around the US, 8500 miles, I think I got it back. I think everything settled back into place, and I’m where I need to be.”


“My ego got in the way. It started getting in the way of me becoming a complete MMA fighter. I stopped going to Master Lloyd’s, and there were a lot of little mental things too. Things started changing from the Jardine fight on and I didn’t go back to train at Master Lloyd’s since the Jardine fight. I had a couple life-changing events happen right before the Jardine fight and during the fight and I honestly believe that MMA fell off the list. It wasn’t number one on my list anymore. It became number three in my life. I’m always down to knock somebody out or go punch somebody, but I wasn’t pushing myself extra. I would go to practice and I’d be looking at the time – oh God, how many more rounds we got? And now, I’m there until coach says ‘time.’ Now, I feel like I did when I first came in the sport, and I realize that I have a lot to learn and I’m open to learning again. I’m back in school and back on the grind.”


“My mouth is running again and I’m back out in the world doing my thing and doing what I should have been doing since Day One. I don’t know why MMA took a backseat to whatever else it did in my life, but it’s not anymore. I understand that this is what I’m supposed to be doing with my life, and there’s no way I could be flipping burgers or selling cars or doing anything else. I’m supposed to be fighting; I’m supposed to have that damn title around my waist, and every time I watch (UFC light heavyweight champion Jon) Jones fight, it’s good motivation to watch him kick somebody’s ass or do his thing in the ring. It’s really good motivation. It makes me so hungry.”


“Everybody’s seen me at my highs, they’ve seen me at my lows, and everybody wants to see the story continue, and I’m not ready for it to be done yet. It’s been a rough ride, peaks and valleys, but I told everybody, don’t blink and don’t stop believing because I’m here.”