Morning Report: Anderson Silva makes changes to entourage ahead of rematch with Chris Weidman at UFC 168

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Speaking with Brazilian correspondent Paula Sack, former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva claims he's made changes to his inner circle ahead of his Dec. 28 rematch with Chris Weidman at UFC 168. Silva arrived in Las Vegas for his UFC 162 title bout with Weidman leading quite the entourage. In addition to Team Silva fixtures in Ramon Lemos, Pedro Rizzo, Rogerio Camoes, André Galvão and Rafael Cavalcante, Silva's posse included pop singer Usher and Brazilian soccer star turned sports marketer Ronaldo.

"I have not talked about it yet," says Silva. "It is the first time I'm commenting on this. This is one of the things that we change. Our team had a lot of people with different thoughts. Although it was not the reason why I lost, from that we analyzed what was good and what was bad, so we decided to change it."

Chided by fans following the loss of his title to Weidman, Silva says the rare defeat only helped push his development further.

"I am the one who goes out there to fight. I am the one who trains four, five months. I am the one who is far from my family. So, people can say whatever they want. It is a matter of opinion. I've always been motivated because I love what I do. Everything that happened was important to my improvement as an athlete and as a person."

With news that boxing legend Roy Jones Jr. has resumed training to face him after scoring a win Saturday night in Moscow, Silva says the exhibition bout with Jones is the only thing left for him to achieve.

"My fight with Roy Jones Jr. Regardless if I'm going to win or lose, to be happier professionally as an athlete. This is something that I want to achieve. I don't know If I'll be able to fight 12 rounds because it's a completely different sport from MMA. However, I've been for this for some time."

I'm off for Wednesday and Thursday, but back for Friday. Happy Holidays.

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5 MUST-READ STORIES

MMA Beat. For the year's final show, the panel discusses the buzz heading into UFC 168, the UFC's decision to increase the pay-per-view price for the event, some year-end awards and what to watch for in 2014.

Global expansion. Luke Thomas chats with Zuffa's Chief Content Officer Marshall Zelaznik about the UFC's future plans.

Retirement rumors. Get the latest details regarding UFC welterweight Adlan Amagov.

Strong words. Ben Askren says Dana White is keeping him from showing he's the world's top welterweight. "I'm not going to get a chance to prove that because one bald-headed fat man chooses not to let me in."

Any chance? Roy Jones Jr. and a Russian boxing promoter are working to convince Dana White to allow some sort of exhibition boxing match with Anderson Silva.

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MEDIA STEW

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Free fight: Ronda Rousey vs. Liz Carmouche.

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Dana White's UFC 168 blog.

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TTHS.

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Rampage Jackson had a disagreement with a man wearing earrings.

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A Day In Fight Camp: Chris Weidman.

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Screening Room: Chris Weidman and Anderson Silva.

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Random MMA:

Josh Neer vs. Anthony Smith at VFC 41.

(via r/MMA)

Anthony Salazar vs. Anthony Tamayo at VFC 41.

Top 5 EFC Africa KO's of 2013.

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Long watches. If you've got the time, check these out.

Fight Flashback: A.Silva vs. Weidman UFC 162

Evolve WARRIOR Series | Episode 1

Knuckle Up #438: The DeadWeek before the storm of SILVA v. WEIDMAN

UFC 168 In-Depth Preview

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TWEETS

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Ready.

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This room is horrifying.

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Bad day for pads.

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Quick one.

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Not like the other.

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Good question.

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Brutal.

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Kill dinosaurs with Tim Sylvia in a small boat for thousands of dollars.

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FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Announced yesterday (Dec. 23 2013)

NA

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FANPOST OF THE DAY

Today's Fanpost of the Day comes via watercoolermma.com

A Skeptic's Perspective On The Silva vs. Weidman Rematch

Ari Shaffir is a stand-up comedian and avid MMA fan. Through his friendship with UFC commentator and fellow comic, Joe Rogan, he has been afforded opportunities that very few people, outside of those directly associated with the UFC, will ever have. He has been watching the sport closely for a number of years and believes, like so many others around the world, that Anderson Silva is the undisputed greatest of all time.

In an episode of his podcast, entitled Ari Shaffir's Skeptic Tank, Ari recalled the first time he saw Anderson fight.

"He was fighting Chris Leben somewhere in Las Vegas. All I remember is people talking about Chris Leben and how hard he hit. Anderson Silva came in and walloped this guy."

Check out the rest of the post here.

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Found something you'd like to see in the Morning Report? Just hit me up on Twitter @SaintMMA and we'll include it in tomorrow's column.

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