Planet Tatami, the official Brazilian MMA content partner of, recently had the opportunity to interview UFC light heavyweight Brandon Vera.

Vera made a successful debut at light heavyweight following a unanimous decision victory over Reese Andy at UFC Fight Night 14 this past July. He is set to return to the Octagon against Keith Jardine in Birmingham, England at UFC 89 on Oct. 18.

The Vera vs. Jardine bout will be the co-feature to a card that will be headlined by a middleweight matchup between Michael Bisping vs. Chris Leben and broadcast in the United States on a tape-delay basis on Spike TV.

Vera, who is making final preparations for the fight, recently took time out to speak with Planet Tatami and for an exclusive interview in which he discusses his motivation for dropping from heavyweight to light heavyweight; whether reports are true that he declined a fight vs. Lyoto Machida, his current contract status with the UFC, and more.

Felipe Maurer de Barros: How is your training for the upcoming fight vs. Keith Jardine?

Brandon Vera: It’s going very well. No complaints at all.

Felipe Maurer de Barros: What was behind your decision to drop from heavyweight to light heavyweight.

Brandon Vera: The UFC asked me to so I said “Sure let’s try it out.”

Felipe Maurer de Barros: How was your adjustment to light heavyweight?

Brandon Vera: My first fight was hard, especially with cutting weight. I haven’t had to do that in about nine years. That sucked.

Felipe Maurer de Barros: How often do you practice your ground game? Who is your Jiu-Jitsu trainer and what’s your belt rank?

Brandon Vera: I train my ground everyday. My instructor is Master Lloyd Irvin and I’m currently a brown belt under him.

Felipe Maurer de Barros: How many fights do you still have in your UFC contract?

Brandon Vera: After this fight with Keith Jardine I will have one more fight with the UFC.

Felipe Maurer de Barros: Which fighter would you like to face in the light heavyweight division and why?

Brandon Vera: There are so many good fighters in the light heavyweight division that are phenomenal (and) I will probably have to face them all some day.

Felipe Maurer de Barros: Who are you training with these days?

Brandon Vera: I train with a whole slew of guys. Dominic Cruz, Gary Padillia, to Gator Man “Jacare,” Rampage Jackson, Tim Carpenter, Cain Velasquez… the list goes on and on.

Felipe Maurer de Barros: Talk about your loss to Fabrício Werdum? Do you still want a rematch?

Brandon Vera: I’m still upset about that fight and I can’t wait to get that avenged.

Felipe Maurer de Barros: Could you explain us what really happened about your proposed fight against Lyoto Machida? Did you really deny the fight against him or it was a misunderstanding?

Brandon Vera: I said that I did not want to fight Lyoto Machia on short notice. For a fighter like him I need to study his gameplan and be ready for that fight. I didn’t want to take it on three and a half weeks notice.

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