Loss to Couture motivates Vera

JOSE RODRIGUEZ, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:45 AM ET

His last fight was the biggest disappointment of his professional career.

Brandon “The Truth” Vera had just finished going three hard rounds with the man he grew up idolizing.

And in Vera’s mind — and those of many of the fans in Manchester, England for UFC 105 on Nov. 14 — he had fought hard enough to get the nod over crowd favourite Randy “The Natural” Couture.

“When they announced unanimous decision, I would have bet the house that I won,” says Vera.

When Bruce Buffer instead read out Couture’s name as the victor, a visibly disappointed Vera shook his head.

The 32-year-old Filipino-American will get his chance to get back on a winning streak Sunday when he takes on 22-year-old phenom Jon “Bones” Jones (9-1) at UFC Live — a rare free-TV fight airing on Rogers Sportsnet.

Vera (11-4), a former member of the U.S. Air Force, says he’s learned from his loss to Couture.

“Even though the decision didn’t go my way, I still feel that I won that fight and I just take that with me,” says Vera.

“I use that every day in training. If I got to beat my legend, my hero, I don’t think there’s anybody else who can beat me now.”

Vera says the loss forced him to change his approach — everything from what’s pumping through his iPod during training to his attitude about fighting.

“When I first came out, I would just bang on people and roll people just to see them break,” says the former heavyweight, who now fights as a light heavyweight.

“And I got away from that somehow, man. I don’t know what happened or I got sucked into the MMA world of trying to not disappoint people. Man, I’m over it. I just want to go ahead and go back in there and start doing things like I used to.

“I’m going back in to try to hurt people again.”

Vera says one thing that won’t change is his pre-fight ritual. The moments before he walks into the cage with Jones will be the same as every other fight for the 6-foot-2 Muay Thai specialist: A mix of nervous energy and amazement.

“We say a prayer before we walk out,” says Vera.

“And then, standing behind that curtain, I’m thinking to myself, ‘What the hell am I doing? Why are we doing this? Man, I need to get a regular job.’

“But when they call my name and they open up them curtains, I say, ‘Ah, this is why we train. That’s right. I forgot.’ ”


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