Up until a few years ago, he was considered the soul of the Chute Boxe Academy, having served as Rudimar Fedrigo’s right-hand man. Today, Rafael Cordeiro works for his new team, Kings MMA, in Huntington Beach, Calif.
Still, it came as little surprise when Wanderlei Silva, a man who has long idolized Cordeiro, invited his former mentor to help him train for his middleweight bout with Michael Bisping at UFC 110 “Nogueira vs. Velasquez” this Saturday at the Acer Arena in Sydney, Australia.
“I’ve been working with Wanderlei since the beginning, and I know his potential,” Cordeiro said. “We’ve been working really hard the last three months. Some weeks, I went to Las Vegas; some weeks, he came to my academy.”
Silva also spent time at the Affliction Training Center, where he worked with Fabricio Werdum, Vitor Vianna, Renato “Babalu” Sobral and Muhammed Lawal. The 33-year-old Brazilian has lost back-to-back fights and five of his past six. Silva’s last victory came at UFC 84 nearly two years ago when he knocked out Keith Jardine in little more than half a minute.
“I’ve been in that hard marathon of training for almost three months, but it’s worth it,” Cordeiro said. “I can predict that this is not going to be an easy fight for Bisping. If he does what he’s been doing in training, this fight will represent the return of Wanderlei.”
Cordeiro also answered those who doubt Silva -- who dropped a unanimous decision to former middleweight champion Rich Franklin at UFC 99 in June -- can maintain his KO power in his move to the 185-pound division.
“He keeps lifting the same weights, just like when he was heavier,” he said. “I think 185 is actually the weight he was at before he started taking supplements and training to get into the light heavyweight division.”
The former Chute Boxe trainer thinks Bisping could be in for a long night at UFC 110. Said Cordeiro: “The fans will see the return of the Wanderlei they were used to seeing in Pride.”