Brandon Vera has political ambitions and has also been busy establishing himself as a movie star in the Philippines. The 42 year old has a lot on his plate but that doesn’t mean he has given up on his sporting goals.

Vera, who successfully defended his ONE Championship heavyweight title for the second time last weekend, wants to drop down a division and challenge for the light heavyweight belt next year,

“I’ve asked to fight again October of next year in Japan. I’ve asked to fight whoever is holding the belt at light heavyweight. Whoever is holding the light heavyweight title, that’s who I’m gonna fight next.”

The belt is currently the property of Aung La Nsang, who is also the promotion’s middleweight champion and Vera expects the Burmese fighter to still be in possession of it come October,

“He’s an amazing, amazing athlete. That dude – if you don’t know Aung La, you don’t really know what you’re talking about here. So that’s who I asked to fight next,” Vera said.

Fast finish

Vera needed little more than a minute to defeat Mauro Cerilli last Friday at ONE: ‘Conquest of Champions’. A left hook did the damage but the Fil-Am fighter was surprised at how fast he was able to finish the fight.

“I never plan or think I’m going to finish a fight like that. I just want to go in, fully prepared, pushing the pace, and make them dance to my tune. When they start to try to dance with me, that’s when I can catch them.”

The walk off KO was one for Vera’s personal highlight reel. It was a technique he had been working on in training and that preparation paid off handsomely on fight night.

“We’ve been working that fade-away left hook for a long, long time. Especially for this camp, we saw that it might come in handy. I hadn’t got to use it yet but this was the one.”

Cerrilli was coming off a one punch KO win of his own. The Italian has a reputation for being heavy handed and Vera says it is well deserved.

“I got out of the way of the first overhand right, but I felt the wind as it swung by and thought ‘oh no you can’t hit me with that, that’s going to hurt really bad’. I think he hit me with a left hook as I was hitting him with a left hook at the same time, but I stepped out.”

Tokyo dreams

Vera has won all four of his ONE Championship fights with first round stoppages. The list of heavyweights on the promotion’s roster he has beaten is getting longer and the UFC veteran wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up rematching one of them,

“He (Cerilli) is an amazing addition to the ONE heavyweight lineup. I hope he works his way back up and we get to fight again.”

However Vera already has an opponent in mind for his next fight and might not be defending his heavyweight belt at all next year. He has got his sights set on La Nsang and sees that fight happening on the second ONE Championship Tokyo card.

“I’ve asked to be on the event in October in Japan, so we’ll see if that comes to fruition.”

The win over Cerilli was Vera’s first since 2016. He’s fought four times in the last four years and promises to never take such a long layoff again.

“I continue to want to challenge myself and find the best athletes in the world to compete against until my body doesn’t want to do it anymore. I promise, I will never be away that long again.”