Update: According to Sam Caplan Dana White confirmed in the UFC 74 conference call that Brandon Vera has signed a new contract with the UFC and Tim Sylvia is the most likely opponent for his return bout. As a commenter here pointed out Sylvia is recovering from a staph infection as well as back surgery so this fight could be pushed back to November or December depending on Sylvia’s recovery.
Rising-but-stalled UFC heavyweight Brandon Vera will finally make his return to the octagon according to an official UFC press release. His return could come as early as October, presumably at UFC 77 in Cincinnati.
After going 4-0 outside of the UFC Vera jumped to MMA’s biggest stage in 2005 where he defeated Fabiano Scherner with a second round TKO at UFC Fight Night 2. He next posted a quick KO win over Justin Eilers at UFC 57 and quickly followed it up with another win, this time a submission victory over Assuerio Silva at UFC 60. In his last fight in late 2006 Vera dominated former heavyweight champion Frank Mir at UFC 65. After his win over Mir he was reportedly offered a heavyweight title match against Tim Sylvia at UFC 68 but the fight was declined and Randy Couture took the match instead ultimately winning the heavyweight belt.
The delay between fights was not by choice. Vera and his manager Mark Dion had a falling out earlier this year and after a lengthy process that finally concluded with an arbitration hearing last month Vera can complete the final fight on his current contract before inking a longer and more lucrative deal with the UFC. While nothing can be official until his next bout is complete reports have suggested that “The Truth” has essentially agreed to terms with the UFC on the new deal and that it will be done soon after the bout. After all, Vera has stated his intentions of fighting twice before year end.
The UFC did not announce an opponent for his return bout but did list Mirko “Cro Cop”, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Fabricio Werdum, Tim Sylvia, Andrei Arlovski, Gabriel Gonzaga, Cheick Kongo, and Frank Mir as potential opponents.
Vera exuded confidence in the release:
“I realize the UFC heavyweight division is much stronger now, but I like having more challenges, and that just gives me more motivation to train. I feel that when I?m on top of my game, nobody can beat me. I have a plan to become the heavyweight champion, so I?m going to stick to the plan that my management team NCFC and both of my coaches set and win the titles. I want to prove I’m the best for my family, my friends and most of all my fans.”
Stay tuned to MMAFrenzy.com for more information on his possible addition to the UFC 77 lineup.