Anderson Silva became a different fighter since losing his first fight inside the Octagon.
After seven years an a 16-fight winning streak — a run that began in 2006 and ended this summer — the former UFC middleweight champion is focused on his rematch against Chris Weidman on Dec. 28 in Las Vegas at UFC 168, and he says he's coming to take his belt back to Brazil.
"I’m very excited for the rematch," Silva told SiriusXM Sports. "The new Anderson is coming in December."
Silva conceded that "losing is normal," but getting knocked out after showboating in the first minute of the second round was a shocking way to join the normal ranks.
"It's not the first time I lost a fight," he said. "It's normal for me. I stayed with the belt for five years but I have a new chance to pick it up (and take it) to Brazil. Weidman is the new champion and people need to respect him. Inside the Octagon you have fast moments. Chris Weidman picked it up this time and won, it's normal. Sometimes you win, sometimes you [don’t]. It's very important to focus."
Keeping his hands low and chin up was always part of Silva’s strategy, and he guarantees he never meant to disrespect Weidman.
"I respect my opponent," he said. "I fight for a long time. I don’t disrespect my opponents. This is my strategy, my fighting style. People say ‘Anderson didn’t respect Weidman,' but it's not real."
Right after the loss, Silva said he wouldn’t accept a rematch Weidman, but he changed his tune a few days afterwards thanks to UFC president Dana White and his coaches.
"I signed a new contract for ten more fights," he said. "I lost my fight, and for the first time in my career I got knocked out. I wasn't happy when the fight was finished. I went back to the hotel, and Dana talked to me three days [later]. ‘It's really important for your legacy,' he said. 'We need you back for the rematch.' My coach said, ‘yes, it's very important. One more fight, one more chance for the fans watch you fight for the belt.'"
Not that Silva believes he still needs to build, rebuild or protect his legacy.
"In the UFC my legacy is complete because I broke all the records, but now I [have] the chance to change my life again [and] pick up the belt back," Silva said. "I’m very excited to finish my new contract in the UFC. It's part of my contract, win or [lose]."
If Silva defeats Weidman to reclaim his title the list of contenders by that time could include Lyoto Machida. His long-time friend, who trained with him at Black House, makes his middleweight debut on Nov. 6 against Tim Kennedy at UFC Fight For The Troops 3 in Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
If that happens, Silva says he won’t fight Machida -- or any other Brazilian, for that matter.
"He’s my brother," he said. "Lyoto asked my opinion [about] changing weight classes and I said it was good for his legacy. I said, ‘I won’t fight you, but it’s very important for you now.’"
"[The UFC] is the biggest event in the world. Sometimes you are working together in Brazil, sometimes you are staying together for a long time. I don’t like to fight Brazilians. I respect all the fighters in the world, but I don’t like fighting Brazilians."
On the other hand, superfights remain in his plans.
"I have ten fights—super fights are possible, Jon Jones and Georges St-Pierre," he said. "But my focus now is on Chris Weidman. My dream is to fight Roy Jones Jr. in boxing."
If Silva were to fulfill the entire length of his new 10-fight contract, he could be 43-45 years old and still competing in the Octagon. If that's the case, he says he wouldn’t consider asking permission to use testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) to level the playing field.
"I don't use it," he said. "My opinion is the use of testosterone is bad. I’m 38 and I don't use anything. But it's a good question for the commission."