Silva Primes for Leites, Talks GSP & Fedor

By Marcelo Alonso Mar 26, 2009
Middleweight champion Anderson Silva will defend his crown for the fifth time when he collides with countryman Thales Leites in the featured bout at UFC 97 “Redemption” on April 18 at the Bell Centre in Montreal.

Silva (23-4) realizes Leites presents many dangers, and he has enlisted the assistance of Brazilian jiu-jitsu superstars Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza and Andre Galvao, among others, as he prepares for his latest test inside the Octagon.

Based out of the Nova Uniao camp, the 27-year-old Leites (14-1) has never been finished in 15 career fights and has enjoyed a relatively stealth rise up the middleweight ladder.

“Thales is a new kid who’s just starting out, but he’s already proven that he deserves this opportunity,” Silva told Sherdog.com in an exclusive video interview. “He’s a dangerous opponent, just like all the others I’ve faced. He has this opportunity to fight for the title because he impressed the promoters enough to get this chance. The only thing I can say for sure is that, no matter who wins, the belt will stay in Brazil.”


Anderson Silva trains for UFC 97.
Currently tied with hall of famer Royce Gracie and welterweight contender Jon Fitch for the most consecutive UFC victories (eight), Silva last appeared in October when he retained his belt with a bittersweet technical knockout against Patrick Cote. The match ended prematurely when Cote went down with a non-contact knee injury in the third round and could not continue.

Recently, talk has swirled regarding Silva’s plans to retire once he fulfills his current contract with the UFC. He remains elusive on the topic.

“I’m still focused on MMA, until my contract ends,” Silva said. “I have four more fights after Thales.”

Check out Marcelo Alonso’s complete interview with Silva and see how he feels about potential super fights with UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre, former Pride Fight Championships heavyweight titleholder Fedor Emelianenko and boxing legend Roy Jones Jr.
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