Kelvin's recent post about Brandon Vera saying he's going back to the old Brandon got me thinking. In fact I posted about this in said story because it really did bother me. Before every fight we hear the same thing just stated a little differently to keep it fresh. Brandon will go back to this killer ways and will start finishing fights. Hell, for a while he was still talking about winning belts in the HW and LHW division. Since then his story has changed. Recently he stated that he wants to be the third best in the Light Heavyweight Division. The most telling part is that he no long has the confidence he once had. Old Brandon would still talk about being the best. He would not give in and just admit to being third best. I believe that is where his problem lies and it may go beyond that.
Brandon debuted in the UFC and rattled off four highlight reel finishes. But he may also be a product of that hype. His best win is over a Frank Mir who we can now safely say was not in top form. The rest of his wins were against the best competition the UFC could offer at the time without going to Sylvia or Arlovski. Just think, at one point Justin Eilers fought for the HW strap. Brandon then goes into a year long contract dispute and during this time the UFC brings in a ton of talent. His skills which are good were now completely outclassed by better Muay Thai/BJJ/Wrestlers and the year of ring rust caused him to lose two fights in a row to Tim Sylvia in a fight where he had the excuse of breaking his hand in the first round and Fabricio Werdum, where there was controversy in the stoppage being too early. This then began the long run of excuses from Brandon and his apologists who can always have a reason for him losing.
I don't want to come off as a Brandon hater as I am not. He has an incredible amount of talent. He’s a Grecco guy with really good Muay Thai and solid BJJ. At one point he was a killer and had the attitude that he can’t lose. He had a certain swagger. The UFC at that time was pretty weak with talent so he shined.
Today, the UFC at LHW and HW is an amazing pool of both veteran talent and up&comers. Brandon hasn’t evolved with it and he turned out to be someone who was good at everything but wasn’t great at a single thing. His lack of heart destroyed any chance he had at winning when he needed to and he is being kept around because of the Philippines show, which at this point, probably won’t happen. The UFC has enough of a Global reach where they can headline a card with literally 40 fighters and it would sell well. And when they break into a new market, they will sell out just because it’s something new.
I hope he does go back to being old Brandon, not for my sake but for his. But I’m not holding my breath and neither should any of us.