Brandon Vera. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.net

MANILA, Philippines — The influx of decorated heavyweights in ONE Championship has Brandon Vera licking his chops.

Vera had little to no challenge in his first four fights in ONE, disposing of his opponents in just the opening round.

But since last year, ONE has beefed up its heavyweight division with the addition of former London Olympian Arjan Bhullar and more recently greco-roman wrestling world champion Amir Aliakbari and Brazilian jiu-jitsu star Marcus “Buchecha” Almeida.

Almeida’s arrival has certainly caught Vera’s attention.

“So I had to look up the proper name, because I only know that monster as Buchecha. He is a phenomenal athlete. I am very lucky to have the opportunity to possibly meet him in the ONE Circle,” said Vera, who has held the heavyweight belt since knocking out Paul Cheng in 2015.

“And it’s not just him. ONE signed a plethora of amazingly talented heavyweights. I’m going to train right now,” added Vera, who is spending much-needed quality time with his wife Jessica and newborn Atreyu Timothy in Guam.

Almeida may be a new addition to ONE Championship but he is no stranger to the grappling scene with 13 world titles and an impressive record of 128 victories against only 13 losses.

“I am very familiar with his grappling accolades. He has beaten the best in the world and at any given moment, at any weight, he is one of the top two grapplers in the world against anyone. I am very excited he is making the transition to MMA,” said Vera.

“I think it is the correct progression after you win 13 world titles in grappling. There is no one else for you to beat there. Looking forward to watching him and maybe even competing against him.”

A clash with Almeida will have to wait with the 42-year-old Vera expected to defend his title against Bhullar first either later this year or early 2021.

One thing’s for sure, things aren’t going to be as easy as before for Vera.

“The level of competition has just increased exponentially. ONE Championship is making a very comfortable home for the big boys and giving me a lot of work to do. I’m looking forward to all of it,” said Vera.


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