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Brandon Vera: UFC release was ‘ONE of the healthiest decisions I made’

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Brandon Vera rejuvenated his career on ONE Championship, but it also had a profound impact on his life.

Brandon Vera is often considered a UFC prospect who never quite lived up to expectations, but he shattered those goals and more in the second-half of his career.

Vera (16-8-0-1) was, at one point, an 8-0 killer with a first-round finish over Frank Mir. He left the UFC on a two-fight losing streak, having won only one in his last six fights. Vera was released from his UFC contract in June 2014. Six months later he touched down in Pasay City, Philippines for a promotion now-called ONE Championship. Vera has since won all four of his fights at heavyweight — with a lone loss at light-heavyweight. He never did make good on expectations of being a UFC champion, but at 42-years-old he sits atop the ONE heavyweight throne.

Bloody Elbow recently caught up with the ONE heavyweight titleholder. When asked if joining ONE Championship was the most important business decision of his career, “The Truth” said it is far more than that.

“I would say it was not only the smartest business decision of my career, it was one of the healthiest decisions I made in my life,” Vera explained. “It’s like when you go to a gym and you’re trying to make it work, but it’s really just a toxic environment where everyone is trying to party and hangout. It’s under the cover of being a healthy gym. You really want to get good, you really like the guys, but it’s just not a healthy environment.”

“You leave, you find yourself in another gym. You start doing all the right things with all the right people, all on the same page. All of a sudden you’re a world champion,” Vera continued. “You work harder because you want to work for a company that you want to be a part of.”

Vera is currently expecting a child with his wife, Jessica Vera.

“It’s almost like a camp, 12 weeks,” he chuckled when sharing the due date. Vera then touched on the complications of welcome a baby during the COVID-19 pandemic. “We’ve talked about it. It’s part of the gig. What can you do? Just roll with the punches. We’re staying as safe as we can, making sure we practice everything safetly as we can. You can’t not live life.”

Vera was expected to defend his ONE Championship heavyweight title against fellow UFC alum Arjan Bhullar at ONE Infinity 2 prior to the event’s cancellation.