ONE Championship: Heavyweight Champ Brandon Vera Admits He Felt Pressure Ahead Of ONE Return
ABS-CBN Sports on Nov 27, 2018 10:03 AM
"I puked four times inside the dugout before I went out, and one [time] at the curtain. But once it opened, it was game time. I was very nervous," - Brandon Vera
After nearly two years away from the ONE Championship cage, ONE Heavyweight World Champion Brandon “The Truth” Vera admitted he felt an enormous amount of pressure to perform just hours before his highly anticipated return against Mauro Cerilli.
However, the 41-year-old showed no signs of ring rust when he stopped his Italian challenger just 64 seconds into the main event of ONE: CONQUEST OF CHAMPIONS, which took place at the Mall Of Asia Arena in Manila, Philippines last Friday, 23 November.
"I puked four times inside the dugout before I went out, and one [time] at the curtain. But once it opened, it was game time. I was very nervous," Vera revealed.
"Pressure is not a real thing, if it’s not a physical force. It’s something we put on ourselves in life. During this camp, I had to remind myself that pressure is not real.”
The first-round knockout victory that came from a perfectly-timed left hook at a lunging Cerilli happens to be Vera's second successful ONE World Title defense.
Prior to ONE: CONQUEST OF CHAMPIONS, he was last seen in action at ONE: AGE OF DOMINATION in December 2016. “The Truth” also headlined that show at the Mall Of Asia Arena, and stopped Japanese behemoth Hideki “Shrek” Sekine.
During his time away from the sport, he filmed the box office smash BuyBust.
Despite his busy schedule, Vera worked very hard to stay in shape and squeezed in some training sessions.
Although he maintained his routine as a top-notch athlete, there was a certain level of anxiety Vera experienced ahead of his showdown with the hard-hitting Italian.
"I didn’t sleep for two days in a row during training camp because of the pressure," he shared.
"I talked to my wife, dad, and everybody. I just had to be open with what’s going [on] in my head.”
In spite of the pressure, Vera pulled off a vintage performance against Cerilli, and as soon as the bout ended, he danced around the cage with an unspoken sigh of relief.
“The Truth” ended the splendid evening with the Philippines having five mixed martial arts world champions in ONE Championship.
Vera encouraged his fellow Filipino athletes in other weight classes to continuously put their best foot forward.
"In the world of martial arts, the Philippines owns five world titles,” he says. “We can do this. Continue your support. Let’s get all the belts.