The key to happiness in this open sewer we call a society is low expectations. The people closest to you will inexorably break your heart. That is a fact. But as long as you know that going in, it’s not so bad when it happens. One of the reasons so many relationships fail is because of unrealistically high expectations, usually on the part of women. Whereas men want the occasional hummer and then to be left pretty much alone, women expect men to be a confidant, handyman, protector, provider, Superman, Batman, Lex Steele, Bobby Flay and Dr. Phil all rolled into one. It’s a recipe for failure because failure is the only option with such lofty expectations. Lower those bad babies to realistic levels, and even lower than that, and happiness is right around the corner.

The MMA equivalent to that dime-store psychological theory is the main event between Shogun and Brandon Vera. The expectations on Shogun were high. Vera was a guy who hadn’t looked all that impressive since dropping to light-heavyweight in 2008, and had only won one fight since 2009 – a lackluster decision over Eliot Marshall in a fight that not many would have complained had it gone the other way. Basically, Shogun was supposed to run through Vera. He was clearly the better fighter, but he struggled too much to satisfy those haughty expectations. Thus, he failed to impress and earn himself a rematch with Jon Jones.

Vera, on the other hand, was in the enviable position of having absolutely nothing to lose. Expectations couldn’t possibly have been any lower had they pulled him off a bar stool down by the docks to step in against Shogun on a moment’s notice. He was brought in to lose, and lose badly, so the fact that he hung around until the fourth round, and at times seemed to actually find that trigger finger that has so eluded him since his days at heavyweight, allows Brandon Vera to walk away from a knockout loss with a very decent sense of victory because he exceeded expectations.

That’s the beauty of expectations. With remarkably low expectations, Vera got knocked the fuck out, and yet he walks away the victor. With unrealistically high, woman-level expectations, Shogun scores a TKO in what turned out to be a pretty darned good fight, yet walks away with the taint of discredit because he couldn’t run through a very tough opponent. It just goes to show that state of mind is everything.

Alexander Pope said, “Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed.” That’s damn good advice.