Brandon Vera will face Thiago Silva in his 12th UFC fight on Saturday at UFC 125. Vera knows the ups and downs of the UFC like few other fighters.
Early Career Hill: After wrestling for Old Dominion University and the United States Air Force, Vera tried MMA and started his career with two quick wins. He then didn't fight again until the pre-Zuffa WEC heavyweight tournament. Vera won that with TKOs of Mike Whitehead and Fabiano Scherner.
Great Mountain of 2006: Vera started off his career in the Octagon in style. In 2006, he rattled off three straight first-round knockouts of Assuerio Silva, Justin Eilers, and the one that really made his name, Frank Mir.
Valley of the Heavyweights: The Mir win was supposed to give Vera a title shot, but a contract dispute kept him out of the Octagon for nearly a year. His return was wrecked by Tim Sylvia, who took a decision from him, and then Fabricio Werdum, who TKOed him in the first round.
Light Heavy Hill: After those losses, Vera realized that despite his height, he was not a heavyweight. His first fight at 205 pounds was decent: a decision over Reese Andy at Fight Night 14.
Valley of the Mean Dean: Light heavyweight didn't stay so welcoming for Vera. Keith Jardine -- at the time, one of the hotter prospects in the UFC's 205-pound division -- took a split decision from Vera at UFC 89.
Back in the W Column Hill: Vera needed wins to keep his job, and he got them over Michael Patt, a TKO by leg kicks at UFC 96, and Krysztof Soszynszki, a decision at UFC 102.
Valley of the Main Event: Vera's last two fights have been main events and losses. First, he dropped a disputed decision to MMA legend Randy Couture at UFC 105. Next, he became part of the Jon Jones highlight reel, losing a TKO after Jones delivered a massive elbow that broke Vera's face in three places.
This leads him to the UFC 125 bout with Silva, a fight that will either right the course for Vera or give him his third loss in a row. Will we see a hill or a valley out of the Truth this weekend?