ONE Championship: Brandon Vera proud to be part of Filipino dominance
Santino Honasan on Nov 27, 2018 03:20 PM
I said it in the cage, there’s five world championships here in the Philippines, that is a huge deal. That should be on front page, that should be on every news report," - Brandon Vera
When it was all said and done at ONE: Conquest of Champions, Friday night at the Mall of Asia Arena, the Philippines had five world champions under the ONE Championship banner.
Team Lakay's Eduard Folayang captured the fifth title with his unanimous decision win over Amir Khan to become a two-time ONE Lightweight World Champion, while Brandon Vera made sure that the count stayed at five with a 64-second starching of Italian Mauro Cerilli to remain the ONE Heavyweight World Champion.
Now, five of ONE Championship's eleven MMA world champions proudly call the Philippines home.
It was indeed a landmark night for Filipino mixed martial arts, and Vera couldn't be more happy to be part of the revolution.
"When I first started in martial arts and competing around the world, in the world stage, it was just me, I was the only Filipino. Everyone thought I was crazy," the Filipino-American heavyweight explained. "[People were saying] ''What are you doing that for? Go be a nurse, go open a restaurant, diba? Go become an attorney or a doctor.'"
Vera began his professional career back in 2002, and was indeed one of, if not the first Filipinos to make a name for himself globally in the mixed martial arts arena thanks to his run with North American promotion Ultimate Fighting Championships or UFC.
Now, more Filipinos have carved a name for themselves in mixe martial arts, and Vera sees it as a testament to the potential that Pinoy fighters possess.
"It’s not just here, it’s the fact that alam na sa buong mundo, kayang-kaya na talaga ng Pinoy. I said it in the cage, there’s five world championships here in the Philippines, that is a huge deal. That should be on front page, that should be on every news report," Vera expressed. "We are a very small country compared to the rest of the world, and we own five belts in an organization that has eleven weight [classes]. We have almost half of their belts in our homeland."
And while Vera can be considered as one of the first Filipino MMA fighters to make it big overseas, he gave all the credit to Folayang and the rest of Team Lakay.
"I can’t take credit for it, because those Team Lakay guys, the Filipinos, they’ve been doing their own thing since their wushu days, diba? But to be a part of it, to be part of those five belts, to own almost half in the world, I am very proud of that fact."
"They did that on their own though, I had nothing to do with that. That was their sweat, that was their blood out there. Sila na yun," he added.