Brandon Vera and Igor Subora stood opposite each other inside the ONE Championship cage over two years ago when the two highly-decorated heavyweights crossed paths in their much-anticipated promotional debut.
Both men faced each other inside the jam-packed 20,000-capacity SM Mall of Asia Arena, serving as a co-featured attraction of ONE Championship: Warrior’s Way in December 2014.
Vera came out on top of Subora, finishing his Ukrainian rival with a thunderous high kick and follow-up ground strikes in the first round.
Seeing the outcome of their action-packed encounter, it seemed impossible for Vera and Subora to have a friendly relationship outside the cage.
However, nearly three years after their grueling heavyweight meeting, Vera and Subora are on the same mat polishing their skills together.
Subora revealed that Vera personally extended his helping hand to him as he prepares for his light heavyweight debut against Sherif “The Shark” Mohamed on the undercard of ONE Championship: Quest for Power in Jakarta, Indonesia on Saturday, January 14.
“At that time, he was preparing for his title defense. Meanwhile, I was cross training for my upcoming bout. He reached out, which I saw as a great opportunity,” he shared.
Subora, who lives and trains out of Manila, Philippines, is grateful for the help that he received from the reigning ONE Heavyweight World Champion.
“Brandon is a nice guy. I wish that we could train more often together. We are now friends, not foes.
“I guess that’s the good thing about mixed martial arts. You might be foes inside the cage. But after the fight and outside the cage, it’s different,” the 36-year-old stated.
Aside from Vera, Subora also worked with fellow ONE Championship competitor Mark Striegl as well as the Filipino champion’s close friend and teammate AJ Matthews.
The 36-year-old Ukrainian stalwart is confident coming into his three-round showdown against Mohamed as training with the trio of Vera, Striegl and Matthews aided him to add more weapons to his arsenal.
“Training with them helped me a lot. They taught me a lot. Now, I am excited to get back in the cage and showcase my newly-acquired skills,” the Ukrainian added.
“The world will see the new Igor Subora.”