Jussier da Silva is looking for a fight. | Photo: Jeff Sherwood
World-ranked flyweight Jussier “Formiga” da Silva will return to action in his home country next month when he defends his Shooto South America 123-pound title against Michael William Costa at Shooto Brazil 25.
The championship bout, set for Oct. 29 at a venue to be announced, will mark the second meeting between the Brazilian flyweight standouts. In their November 2008 encounter, Formiga captured the title in a close split decision, a result which Costa has not forgotten.
“Michael is going to be a good fight because he’s been asking for a rematch ever since we first fought, saying the result of the first one was unfair,” da Silva told Sherdog.com on Sunday. “He’s a BJJ black belt, he trades punches a little bit, and he’s one of the top guys in the weight class here in South America.”
Costa will move back up to 123 pounds after losing a bid for the inaugural Shooto South America 115-pound title in December, when he came up on the short end of another split verdict against Lincoln de Sa. Meanwhile, da Silva comes fresh from one of the biggest wins of his young career, a dominant Aug. 5 showing against Japanese flyweight great Mamoru Yamaguchi at Tachi Palace Fights 10.
“I wanted to get another fight as soon as possible, so we talked to [Shooto Americas President Andre] ‘Dede’ Pederneiras to give me the opportunity to defend the belt, as it’s been a while since my first defense,” explained da Silva, who previously retained his title with a June 2010 decision over Alexandre Pantoja. “Michael was the best-ranked fighter available. I’m sure he’ll be coming in his best condition, physically and technically.”
Da Silva should also be in peak shape for the showdown, having emerged from his bout with Yamaguchi unscathed and having kept active in the interim. Last week, the 26-year-old took part in the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Cup trials in his hometown of Natal, Rio Grande do Norte. Competing in the lightest weight class available, da Silva finished second at 144 pounds.
If da Silva has his way, October won’t be his last trip to the ring this year. The Nova Uniao Kimura product is currently in search of a December bout, a search which da Silva readily admits is as much about finance as it is his competitive spirit.
“It’s not only a desire to fight; it’s necessity,” asserted da Silva, who remains under contract with Lemoore, Calif.’s Tachi Palace. “I fought on their February and August cards, one loss and one win. The first one, I only got the show money, and the second one I received the win bonus, but both times I had more than 30 percent deducted from my purse by the IRS and it made a huge difference. If I hadn’t fought in August, I wouldn’t have any more money for the rest of the year.
“Tachi told us they can’t have me in December due to all the costs involved, so in the best-case scenario, I’d be back in February or March of next year, and I can’t take that much time off. Especially financially: I have no sponsors, and ever since the Danny Martinez fight, I’ve been unemployed,” da Silva said. “I was getting around $250 per month back then to support my family. The money I received from Tachi in all my fights was much more than that and it turned my life around. I paid bills that were late, some subsequent bills and necessary stuff for my house and my training, but the bills keep coming.”
Even as he seeks fights in outside organizations, Formiga remains focused on his top priority: returning to Lemoore and claiming the Tachi Palace 125-pound title from the man who handed him his first career loss, Ian McCall.
“Technically speaking, it’s very important to keep fighting. I hope some opportunity shows up and Jeremy [Luchau, Tachi Palace entertainment coordinator] allows me to take it, as he’s allowed the Shooto fight. I’ll try my best to put on a show for the fans and to climb my way back. McCall is going to his fourth fight this year; he’s being active and he’s improving. My goal is to get the belt, so I have to be active and build a case for it to happen.”