Reigning ONE heavyweight champion Brandon “The Truth” Vera has long been thinking about the division’s top contender Arjan “Singh” Bhullar.
After all, they’ve been scheduled to go at it as early as last year, but the COVID-19 pandemic had other plans, as it kept pushing their scheduled World Title showdown to a later date.
They will finally cross paths in the main event of the previously recorded ONE: Dangal, which airs on May 15 – and the Filipino-American striker cannot wait to get back into the cage to face his toughest opponent yet.
“I’m excited and I’m nervous. I’ve been thinking about Arjan Bhullar for a long time. I’m excited to finally be able to have our contest,” Vera said.
“I respect Arjan — I’m giving him more respect than anybody else that I’ve faced because he’s the one standing in front of me. I want to find out what he’s got, I want to see how well he can take [what I’ve got], and I want to see if he can move with me.”
Wanting to change things up against Bhullar, Vera moved his training camp to Sanford MMA in Florida, where he’s been training under Henri Hooft and working with fellow ONE stars Aung La “The Burmese Python” N Sang and Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen.
Knowing Bhullar’s wrestling prowess, Vera worked double-time on his back just to sharpen his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu skills, which he claims have always been there for him.
A lot of people know about the 43-year-old’s power when he’s on his feet, but he believes he’s just as dangerous on the ground. And if the opportunity presents itself, he’s going to take it.
“I have not trained as much wrestling or as much groundwork as I have since I’ve been here, so if we end up on the ground, then my ground game is there,” Vera said.
“It’s not something that everyone talks about, but I’ve trained with the best people in the entire world. From Dean Lister to the Ribeiro brothers, to Lloyd Irvin to Mike Fowler to Renzo Gracie, too. The list goes on and on.
“My jiu-jitsu is underrated because I don’t really like to be on the ground or looking for submissions. I’d much rather be on my feet trying to finish it, but if it goes to the ground, let’s see. Maybe I’ll pull it out. Maybe I’ll just get back to my feet. I don’t know. We’ll find out when we get there.”
Though the respect has always been there for Vera, as he knows Bhullar will test him in all aspects of the bout, he’s confident that he’ll be better than his foe wherever this match goes.
“I’m a lot faster than him. And we talked about him working in the pocket? It shows your power,” Vera said.
“His style in the pocket and mine are different. When we meet and he sees what mine is, we’ll find out if he wants to stay [there].
“My goal never changes. I make sure that I make a statement of who I am, why I’m the champion, and take that belt home with me every single time.”