Silva was just a 2-0 fighter when he stepped inside the ring with Azeredo at Meca World Vale Tudo’s first edition in Brazil on May 27, 2000. Silva, who became UFC’s biggest champion a decade later, suffered the first of his six losses in a decision after two rounds. Azeredo, who built a 15-10 record in promotions like PRIDE, Bellator and Shooto, wants to return to the big leagues.
"My win over Anderson Silva gave me some recognition because he’s an excellent fighter," Azeredo told MMAFighting.com. "I never used that to brag myself with this because I don’t live in the past, but nobody can take it away from me. That’s part of the history."
Silva and Azeredo were both Chute Boxe fighters, but they only trained together once.
"I’ve trained with him once at Macaco Gold Team in São Paulo," he said. "He’s very respectful in training and I saw that we were at the same level. I wasn’t the best in the world but I beat the best in the world and that’s something that I’m proud of, but you never know what’s next for you."
After that unanimous decision loss in 2000, Silva won 17 of 20 fights and became the UFC middleweight champion, but Azeredo never tried to use that as a leverage to sign with the promotion.
"I always respected my opponent and never thought about challenging him again because I was the one who won the fight," he said, "so he should be the one to call me out if he wanted to avenge that."
Few people know, however, that Silva has a win over Azeredo.
"I fought him again in a muay thai bout and he defeated me, but they only told me that I was going to fight him on the day of the fight," Azeredo said. "There was no weigh-ins, but I accepted the fight anyways. But I hope he doesn’t consider that a win because I took the fight on his rules and his conditions.
"I lost, but I showed that I would never run from a fight. I’m not saying that I would beat him today, but I don’t run away from anyone. I don’t talk, I do, and I would want an opportunity in the UFC to prove that."
When PRIDE was the big league, Azeredo had his chance in the promotion. He went 2-3 between 2005 and 2006 with losses to Takanori Gomi (twice) and Joachim Hansen, but he still thinks that he should have won the rematch against "The Fireball Kid".
"It was an honor to fight at PRIDE, and I thank Chute Boxe and master Rudimar Fedrigo for believing in me," he said. "Fight is a fight and the best doesn’t always win. My fight went to the judges and I lost in a questionable call against (Takanori) Gomi. You can’t expect to win a decision against a Japanese fighter in Japan. It is what it is and I don’t look back, but I don’t want to leave anything to the judges anymore."
"I haven’t fought for a while because I got injured and decided to focus on teaching my students and give some attention to my family," he said.
"Bellator is a big show, a great promotion, but I never had a contract with them. I was called on short notice, and that’s why I’m always trained and ready to fight. I fought twice there. In my first fight, there I fought Eduardo Guedes, who was coming off a seven-fight win streak, and I won. After that I fought Rene Nazare, who was coming off eight wins, but I got hurt in the first round and the doctors unfortunately didn’t let me return to the second. After that, I never talked to them.
"I want to fight again. I need this to feel alive," he continued. "I am 37 years old and I know my limits, but I have a good experience and I can perform well. I don’t know when I can get, but I know that the sky is the limit. I want to be among the best because I know I was born to fight the best. I’m not afraid of anything. When I get in there is to kill or die. I’m a showman and I fight for my life. I want to show my full potential."
While he waits for an opportunity to return to MMA, Azeredo focuses on a new career as a coach in the United States.
"I’m training with some friends in New York, doing my own training here," he said. "I’ve been through some great teams and saw different trainings, and I want to teach now. I want to build fighters with my own style and knowledge.