Sekine not bothered by homecourt disadvantage against Vera in One heavyweight title clash

Taro Irei/Sherdog (file photo)

By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--Ahead of his One heavyweight title fight against Brandon Vera, Hideki Sekine believes his time has come.

The Japanese challenger said that he is unfazed about the fact that he will have to steal the belt from the defending champion in front of the latter's raucous home country crowd at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay on Dec. 2.

[Related Story: Vera battles unbeaten Japanese foe in One's PH return]

“It doesn’t bother me that I will be competing in hostile territory. I know he has a lot of fans, that’s fine. He’s an icon in the MMA world. But my time is now and I feel I can give him a good challenge,” Sekine said.

In fact, he added, “I am excited to see and meet the Filipino people. I hear MMA is really big in the Philippines. I want to experience the passion for the sport that I have seen in previous events. I know everyone is as excited for the event as I am.”

Despite all of these, he insisted that he has respect for the former UFC star, who quickly got a world title at One.

“I have nothing bad to say about Brandon Vera. He has been in the industry for a long time. He deserves the respect and he is somewhat of a legend,” Sekine continued.

On his fight plans, he answered, “We have this saying in Japan: 'Nanakorobi yaoki.' It means 'I won’t tell you what I’m going to do in this fight; it will be a surprise!'”

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