Set for Quick Return at UFC 269, Bruno Silva Recounts Challenging Path to the Octagon
After two impressive wins in the UFC’s middleweight division, former M-1 champion Bruno Silva is slated to return to the Octagon in less than two months.
In an interview with Sherdog.com, Silva revealed that UFC matchmakers called his manager after his victory at UFC Fight Night 195.
“My initial plan was to return next year, but when my manager called me on the day following the event with a very interesting proposal to fight [at UFC 269] in December… I agreed immediately,” Silva said.
Silva is scheduled to sign his bout agreement on Wednesday, but he was unable to reveal the name of his opponent.
“He is not in the top 15 middleweight rankings yet, but I accepted the proposal immediately because he is a great opponent. He is taller than me and likes to stand and bang and not stall fights. I have no doubt it will be another fun fight for the fans,” Silva said.
Silva believes that his last win over Andrew Sanchez was another big moment in his career, especially considering the circumstances of the bout. Silva was down two rounds and absorbed a low blow in the third stanza before rallying for a stoppage at the 2:35 mark of the period.
“The third low shot was really hard and clearly on purpose,” Silva said. “I thought to myself, ’This son of bitch wants to castrate me?’ “My corner have told me I was losing first two rounds. I could have stopped and taken advantage of the rules like many others have done, but it's not who I am. I fight for the knock out. I knew he was broken and five minutes rest was everything he wanted, so even though I was hurting, I decided to finish the job. Facing such serious adversity just made my spirit stronger for future wars.”
Silva’s head coach, Andre Dida, the leader of Evolucao Thai, recently moved to Florida to open the gym’s first American branch this month. Silva will train for his third UFC fight in Parana, Brazil, with the team’s new head coach, former Pride fighter Daniel Acacio.
“Daniel has a very similar style to myself. Furthermore, we have a lot of great sparring right there,” Silva said.
Silva said he has a plan to eventually capture a title after facing a difficult path to the UFC.
“I faced the worst path possible for a fighter, fighting much more experienced opponents in northeast [Brazil] events in the beginning,” he said. “Later I tested myself in the most feared MMA market, Russia, and captured M-1 Global belt. After all I’ve been through, I can’t be in a hurry. By the end of 2022 I want to be in the Top 10.’
Born and raised in the small Cajazeira (between Paraíba and Ceará states), in a very poor part of northeast Brazil, Bruno had to walk a very hard path.
“Man, I started training in a public square in Cajazeiras,” he said. “My physical training was to push a friend's car. One day police officers got a call and wanted to arrest me. I looked at them and said, ‘Have you seen someone trying to rob a car by pushing it?’ I´m just a crazy MMA fighter.’ They just smiled and allowed me to keep training.”
And it was due to fighting much more experienced opponents in small northeast Brazilian events, such as Campina Show, Ceara Fighters, Camaragibe Fights, Carpina FC and Xoperia Fight, that Silva got the nickname “Blindado,” which means “Armored.”
“I got this nickname after I fought a guy almost [60 pounds] heavier than I. He beat me up badly for almost 10 minutes, but I survived and was able to knock him out by the end of the second round,” Silva said.
Silva initially didn’t like the nickname, but today he is so proud of the moniker that he gave it to his baby daugher, Laura Blindado Silva, as her middle name.
“She is my pride and joy. Everything I fight for, as well as the strong name I gave her, is to make her always remember where her dad comes from,” he said.
Silva’s hard-nosed reputation earned him an invitaiton to “The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil 3” in 2014, but as a heavyweight. Coincidentally, former UFC middleweight title challenger Paulo Costa also participated in that season of the show. Bruno drew finalist Vitor Mirando in his first qualifying fight. He ended up suffering the only knockout loss of his career in the second round, but he nonetheless impressed his idol Wanderlei Silva and his trainer, Dida, with the performance.
“When I saw that guy coming from Paraiba, with no background, getting a knockdown on one of the best Brazilian strikers at that time, I knew he was special and invited him to come to Curitiba,” Dida said.
With the support of one of the best teams of Brazil, the talented “Blindado” evolved fast, proving his coach right four years later by winning the M-1 belt with a TKO victory against the favored Artem Folov.
“I lived during the Chute Boxe golden era and I can say that I see a lot of Wanderlei Silva in Blindado,” Dida said. “To tell you the truth, from what I´ve seen from this guy during the last six years, on a scale of 1 to 10, I can say he’s only been at a 4 in the UFC. Besides the big heart and talent, he works really hard. I truly believe that this guy in two years can be a middleweight champion.”
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