When he debuted in the Octagon back in October, 2005, he held chambered in each deadly, decapitating head-kick all the potential in the world. And it seemed like that potential was being realized with a pair of wins by KO, a submission via guillotine, and a quick and violent mauling of Frank Mir. But Brandon Vera was a Cleveland Cavalier then, stuck banging his head against a ceiling that would forever prevent him from basking in the warm glow of an NBA championship victory party at Dwyane Wade's sprawling crib. Then came the announcement that Vera would be headlining UFC on FOX 4 opposite Brazilian hitman Mauricio "Shogun" Rua — and today's shocker from Dana White, that the winner of the bout gets to face UFC champ Jon Jones next — and it's as if "The Truth" has turned his back on his beloved home state and beaten a path to Miami. It's as if Brandon Vera is the MMA equivalent of LeBron James, eschewing Ohio for the Heat, and going where he could very well find that glory that has thus far eluded him. Well, you know what? Y'all needs to chill.
The truth about the Truth is that his losses in the cage have come at the hands of top guys (more or less), and they came with "circumstances". Against former UFC heavyweight champ Tim Sylvia, Vera broke his hand in the first round; against jiu-jitsu master Fabricio Werdum, the stoppage was controversial; against UFC legend Randy Couture, it was a slow death via hugging. Vera has only truly been smashed by one fighter, UFC light-heavyweight king Jones, and at this point, you aren't anyone in the 205-pound weight class until you've been smashed by Jon Jones.
Even Shogun has been destroyed by the reigning champ — and when it comes down to it, who else is left for Jones to face? Plus, the Brazilian stud, though legendary himself for all he's accomplished in both the UFC and in PRIDE FC, has been injured and rebuilt so many times, there's a high probability he could literally fall to pieces if Jones — or even Vera — hits him wrong.
So Vera gets his chance, about as worthy and capable as the rest on the UFC's roster. Just, please, don't begrudge the LeBron James of MMA his shot glory. Wouldn't you rather live in Miami instead of Ohio?
Follow Jim Genia here for more crazy. Or don't.