UFC on FOX 4: 'Overwhelmed' Brandon Vera has sights set on 'Shogun;' rematch with Jon Jones a bonus

Photo of Brandon Vera by Esther Lin/MMAfighting.com

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Light Heavyweight fighter Brandon Vera's mixed martial arts (MMA) career has been a long and arduous road with plenty of twists and turns.

"The Truth" has gone from rising prospect to UFC Heavyweight contender to the guy who had his back played like a drumset by Thiago Silva at UFC 125 in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Jan. 1, 2011.

After his embarrassing loss to Silva (which was later overturned), Vera was cut by the UFC, but then re-instated after it was discovered that Silva had used a masking agent to cover up something fishy (or tiger-y) with his urine.

In his first fight back in the Octagon, Vera was able to notch a decision win over Eliot Marshall at UFC 137 in "Sin City" on Oct. 29, 2011.

Earlier today, UFC President Dana White announced that the winner of Mauricio Rua vs. Brandon Vera, which takes place at UFC on Fox 4 in Los Angeles, Calif., on Sat., Aug. 4, 2012, will get the next crack at the light heavyweight championship belt.

These days, life is pretty good for Vera, who took a few minutes out of his training schedule to sit down with AXS.tv's "Inside MMA:"

"It gives me goose bumps, man. This is America. This is the place that dreams were built on. Dreams were built here in America. I'm with the UFC, man. They gave me a huge opportunity, in of itself, fighting 'Shogun' in the main event on FOX. On top of that, they just threw another bonus, today, that if I go out there and perform and beat 'Shogun,' I'll get a second shot at Jon Jones. It's almost overwhelming, but the way that I've been dealing with the pressure is just to go train hard like we started camp yesterday."

Because of the magnitude of his upcoming fight, as well as the opportunity to go on and fight for the title, Vera has gone above and beyond in his training, and he's had the support of many friends and fellow fighters along the way:

"I brought back in all my Muay Thai coaches. I brought back in all my training partners, all across the country and the world. Alexander Gustafsson came in on a sparring day and gave me some. Everybody has been here and is showing up to support me in this. Everyone understands how big this opportunity is, what this could mean for myself, my career and for the UFC and the history of MMA. Everybody's been supporting me -- 100-percent. What has changed the most is my attitude toward training, things I should've been doing since day one."

And what were those things that he should have been doing? According to Vera, he just didn't care enough:

"I should have been caring, man. I should've understood that I fight in the UFC, where the greatest fighters from around the world congregate to compete for the number one spot. And I didn't treat it like that for a long time. I didn't treat it like that at all. So, I understand where I'm at now. I understand."

Vera says he's learned form his mistakes. He used to fight on reputation, but he's come to the realization that there simply is no substitute for hard work:

"After a while, I probably started that people should just lose because my name was Brandon Vera. My name was 'The Truth.' You lose because of who I was, not because of what I was doing or putting into the sport. Not what I was putting into the bank, how hard I was training or the hours I was putting in."

For more information on UFC on FOX 4, including the entire fight line up and related rumors, click here.

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