EXCLUSIVE | Brandon Vera explains long absence from ONE cage, confirms he will defend title ‘this year’

Brandon Vera

ONE heavyweight champion Brandon Vera has not defended his title since December of 2016, when he authored a devastating knockout of Japan’s Hideki Sekine. The reason for his long absence since then is not due to injury or illness, but to a budding film career in The Philippines.

“It’s been my calculated choice,” Brandon Vera said of his layoff on episode 102 of BJPENN.COM Radio. “When I say calculated choice, I asked permission before I went away for so long, from everyone, so that I could shoot a movie in the Philippines. It was called BuyBust. It was a huge action film from The Philippines, shown all over the world. It was a really good project. Even if I had to do it all over again, I would. The time versus sacrifice, yeah, it was definitely worth it. It was an experience.”

Needless to say, Brandon Vera has definitely been bitten by the acting bug.

“I can see myself doing more roles, playing what parts I make,” he explained. “I enjoyed it. It’s just like martial arts, exactly like martial arts. It takes a lot of discipline, a lot of practice and a lot of reps. Lots of reps.”

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With his recent acting gig in the rear-view, Brandon Vera is now focused on getting back into the ONE cage to defend his title.

While it doesn’t appear to be official just yet, Al Zullino of MMA-Today recently reported that ONE Championship is close to signing Cage Warriors heavyweight champion Mauro “The Hammer” Cerilli, and that the Italian will likely serve as Vera’s next title challenger.

Whatever the case, Brandon Vera assures that he will be fighting again soon — before the year is out, in fact.

“I do have something coming up,” he said. “I am training for my next title defense. I don’t know if I’m allowed to say when?”

“I’m waiting for them to sign the bout agreement,” he added. “It will be this year.”

Given that ONE is set to return to Manila, The Philippines on November 23, the stars would certainly seem to be aligning for an imminent Brandon Vera comeback. Do not be surprised if the heavyweight champ ends up headlining this card.

This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 10/24/2018.