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Anderson Silva Defends Performance, Won't Fight for Light Heavyweight Title

UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva has been criticized in recent days for a lackluster showing in his middleweight title defense over Thales Leites at UFC 97, and some fans think it's time for Silva to move up to light heavyweight to take on more challenging opponents.

Silva says he's open to a move up in weight -- but in an interview with FanHouse, he made clear that he doesn't view such a move as permanent. In the Q&A, conducted over e-mail Wednesday, Silva said he doesn't want to fight for the 205-pound title because he wouldn't fight his friend Lyoto Machida, who will challenge champion Rashad Evans for the light heavyweight belt at UFC 98.

Silva also addressed the fight with Leites and the crowd in Montreal booing him Saturday night, and said he'll be ready to return to the Octagon as soon as the UFC asks him to. The full interview is below.

Michael David Smith: In your last two UFC fights, you have appeared less aggressive than you did in your first seven times in the Octagon. Does that represent a conscious effort to change your style?
Anderson Silva: I went into the Octagon and performed my job well. You can't always have a fight finish in an exciting manner.

These two fights have come against Patrick Cote in October and Thales Leites on Saturday, two opponents that just about everyone would agree are nowhere near as good as you. Is it hard to get motivated to fight lesser opponents?
I never underestimate my opponents, every one presents certain dangers that you have to watch out for.

UFC 97 Photos

    Thales Leites, right, attempts to kick Anderson Silva during their match at UFC 97 on Saturday, April 19, 2009 in Montreal, Canada.

    UFC

    Anderson Silva, right, kicks Thales Leites during their match at UFC 97 on Saturday, April 19, 2009 in Montreal, Canada.

    UFC

    Thales Leites, right, kicks Anderson Silva during their match at UFC 97 on Saturday, April 19, 2009 in Montreal, Canada.

    UFC

    Anderson Silva attempts to kick Thales Leites during their match at UFC 97 on Saturday, April 19, 2009 in Montreal, Canada.

    UFC

    Thales Leites attempts to take Anderson Silva down during their match at UFC 97 on Saturday, April 19, 2009 in Montreal, Canada.

    UFC

    Anderson Silva kicks Thales Leites during their match at UFC 97 on Saturday, April 19, 2009 in Montreal, Canada.

    UFC

    Thales Leites punches Anderson Silva during their match at UFC 97 on Saturday, April 19, 2009 in Montreal, Canada.

    UFC

    Anderson Silva kicks Thales Leites during their match at UFC 97 on Saturday, April 19, 2009 in Montreal, Canada.

    UFC

    Anderson Silva punches Thales Leites during their match at UFC 97 on Saturday, April 19, 2009 in Montreal, Canada.

    UFC

    Thales Leites, right, kicks Anderson Silva during their match at UFC 97 on Saturday, April 19, 2009 in Montreal, Canada.

    UFC



Were you upset by the fans in Montreal booing you against Leites, and by Dana White and others saying afterward that they were disappointed in your performance?
I feel that I did my job well, I fought a good fight and executed my game.

You weighed in at 182 pounds, three pounds under the middleweight limit. Why did you cut so much weight for the Leites fight?

It just happened naturally.

When do you hope to fight again, and do you have an opinion about who your opponent should be?
I train to fight the best in the world, since it is not up to me to pick my opponents, I will leave that up to Dana and the UFC.

There are indications that your next fight will be at light heavyweight. Do you want to become the light heavyweight champion, or do you see moving up to light heavyweight as only temporary?

I don't want to be the light heavyweight champion, I feel that title belongs to Lyoto Machida.

Lyoto Machida is a friend of yours. Would you consider a fight with him?
No.

Roy Jones said recently that your UFC contract expires soon and he hopes to box you when your UFC contract is up. How much longer do you think you'll fight in the UFC, and do you expect to box Roy Jones some day?
I have a few fights left in my contract, which is my priority to fulfill. We will have to wait and see what happens after that.

How many more fights would you like to have in 2009, and at the end of the year, what would you hope fans are saying about the year you've had?

I am ready to fight whenever the UFC needs me, and I hope that all my fans enjoy the fights that I put on for them, and respect the work that we all do.