Silva: Do the Job, Get Back to 185

By Gleidson Venga Jul 16, 2008
UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva (Pictures) ventures into the light heavyweight division Saturday to meet hard-hitting James Irvin (Pictures). Gleidson Venga spoke with the Brazilian about Dana White’s request that he move up to 205 pounds, his desire that Irvin keep the fight on the feet and whether he’ll pursue a light heavyweight title to accompany his 185-pound belt. Why did you accept this fight in a weight division above your own and on shorter notice than you are accustomed to?
Silva: I did that because this was a request from Dana White. As I was very well received at the UFC, I also felt very grateful to them for all they’ve done for me, so this is my way to give something in return. This is a very dangerous fight, but I chose to do it, to put to the test all of the work I’ve been doing together with Camões and Distak, with the team physiologist, all the technical and theoretical, to see if we are in condition to go up in weight. I think this is possible, so let’s go -- let’s work and try to get another victory. Anderson, how was the training for this fight?
Silva: I am well prepared, thank God. Time was short, and I could not go to Curitiba to be a part of the training there, but I’ve trained very well here in Rio de Janeiro with guys like Rafael Feijão, Fabio Maldonado (Pictures), Cesario, Daniel Voihin, who gave me all the support on [striking]. I’ve trained a lot with Master Silvio Behring, who gave me all the support on the Brazilian jiu-jitsu. He is a fantastic person. For two years, I’ve been training jiu-jitsu with the gi with him, and my ground is much better. I’ve trained a lot of physical preparation with Rogério Camões and Distak. I’ve done the MMA. All these people helped me a lot, and they were called on at the last minute. You are going to face James Irvin (Pictures), who is not a top-10 fighter but is very dangerous. What do you know about him? What do you expect from the fight?
Silva: I hope to do a good fight, very technical and, in spite of not knowing a lot about my opponent, I hope he accepts the game on the feet. I hope to do a good fight, but a fight is a fight, so let’s go fight! I don’t like to speak a lot. I like to fight, to go in there and do my job regardless of the outcome. But let’s go. I’ve trained a lot. I’m well prepared thanks to all those people who were here for me. Regardless of the victory or the defeat, let’s go and do what we’ve always trained to do, go there and do our work very well. In the past you’ve already fought in the 93-kg [205-pound] division, but you’ve been fighting in the 84-kg [185-pound] division for some time. How is it to come back fighting in this weight division?
Silva: Everything is a matter of adaptation. I am in my best stage as a fighter. I am out of my normal weight, which is about 100 kg. Let’s see, I have several experiences during this time that I am heavier. I have been doing many things. I have a whole laboratory on them, like testing myself as a heavyweight, testing myself in the 93-kg division, lowering my weight to fight in the 77-kg division. So we have been doing a lot of experiments, and this is the situation which came up for the moment. Let’s see what it’s going to be. I’m well prepared. Now it’s just a matter of waiting for July 19 and trying to bring one more victory to Brazil. Dana White said recently that you’ve sought him out and asked to fight more. How was that?
Silva: We always want to fight more, always being part of this family, the UFC. He wanted to save me a little, but I’ve made this request to him, that he put me in a few more fights. He accepted. He is a fantastic person. I have no complaints about the people of the UFC. I only have to say thanks to them. Dana is a person who is helping me a lot. In all these issues of the UFC, he has been impartial, not on my side, not against me, always showing the reality, how things are. I feel part of the UFC and I believe that we are going the right way to make history inside the UFC. Will your next defense of the title really be against Yushin Okami (Pictures)?
Silva: I believe it will be against Okami. I’m not sure yet, but I believe it will be against him. That’s why I told you we have to be prepared for all kinds of opponents -- tall ones, short ones, slim or fat ones. We have to prepare ourselves. I’m well. My whole team is to be congratulated. Feijão has helped me a lot; Maldonado; Sylvio Behring; Distak; Rogério Camões, who has been tremendously patient with us, spending all his time with us; Paulo Filho (Pictures), who has given support to the extent possible. Is the [light heavyweight] belt also in your plans?
Silva: No, it’s not in my plans. I think that this belt is Lyoto Machida (Pictures)’s. At 93 kg, we also have Paulão, Feijão, Rogério Minotouro and many other good fighters. My division is 84 kg -- I will keep myself in it. If there is a fight at 93 kg, I will still be doing it, but I don’t have the intention of fighting for the belt. This is something that is out of my plans. I hope that people can understand that. Lyoto is the one who has to take this belt. This is already more than proved. He has proved that he is able of being the keeper of the belt. We are a team, a family, and nobody is here to steal the other’s place. Each one of us has his own place. They help me a lot. It was a team decision to put me in a fight at 93 kg. I asked for their opinion, for us to reach a decision in agreement. They found it valid, which is very good, and it won’t harm anyone. My objective is to go there, do my job and come back to my division as fast as possible. Anderson, you have been considered the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world. You have dominated all of your opponents and you are one of the greatest stars in the sport nowadays. How do you see the great stage of your career and how do you deal with all of these things?
Silva: Look, I deal with all of these very easily. I’m doing my job. I do my fights, come back home and train, see my mistakes and successes. I’m trying to improve each day, searching for something that is almost impossible: perfection. It’s impossible, but we have to keep on trying and while I continue fighting, I’ll keep my mind on this objective. I don’t think I am the best of the pound-for-pound like Dana White said. I don’t think I am the best in my division. I will only be able to say that to you when I quit fighting. Then I will be able to say that I was good at that, that in my time I was in my best form, in my weight and in my division. It’s just that nowadays, I’m not. I still have many things to do. I still have to fight a lot, and of course defeats will come, too, but many victories as well. I have my feet on the ground in relation to this kind of thought. I know I’m not unbeatable, but I’ve been training hard. [Eventually] someone better than me will appear, for sure, and will win. The overcoming, the getting over, the devotion -- this is what matters.
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