Wanderlei Silva is one of the greatest fighters in the history of mixed martial arts, but after falling to Rich Franklin at UFC 99, he's lost five of his last six fights. Does that mean his fighting career is just about over?
Silva doesn't think so. When I talked to him over the weekend, he sounded excited about returning to the Octagon late this year, and about his work as a trainer and as an ambassador for MMA. He also refuted reports that he had a hard time making the 195-pound limit for the Franklin fight, offered a prediction on the upcoming Forrest Griffin vs. Anderson Silva fight at UFC 101, and talked about whether his old friend from their days fighting in Japan, Fedor Emelianenko, will ever fight in the UFC. Silva's comments are below.
On his unanimous decision loss to Franklin: I don't know what fight the judges saw. I watched the fight at home afterward, and I don't know how they could give Rich Franklin more than one round. I like Rich and I respect the judges and their decision, but I don't like their decision. Go to the next question.
On his next fight: I think probably it will be in December. I'm going to talk to the bosses, but I think I'll be ready in December. I'm not sure who I'll fight, but I'll be ready to fight anyone.
On moving from light heavyweight to middleweight: I'm going to try to make 185 pounds in training and see how I feel cutting that weight, and then after that I'll talk to the bosses to see if they want me to fight at 185, or 195, or 205. I have to lose some weight to fight at 185, but I didn't have too much trouble getting down to 195. No problems.
On Forrest Griffin vs. Anderson Silva: It's going to be a very good match. Forrest is a very, very tough guy. I believe in him so much. I've trained with him, and he's very strong, he's a good boxer, he can take you down, he's a complete MMA fighter. But Anderson is a phenomenal fighter too, and every time he fights he has a surprise. I don't know how he's going to fight Forrest, though. I'm picking Forrest because Forrest is tough, and his punching is so hard. I've sparred with him, and man, his punches are so hard. He's dangerous.
On whether he wants to fight Anderson Silva: Yeah, but I'll have to fight other guys first. I have to beat one or two or three guys before I'd earn a fight with Anderson. But maybe. It's possible that it could happen.
On whether Anderson Silva is the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world: He's really good. He's a complete fighter. But I don't really pick one best. Like Georges St Pierre, he could be the best, he's phenomenal. Fedor Emelianenko is phenomenal too. Shogun Rua is phenomenal too. There are maybe 10 very, very good fighters in the world who are at the top and I couldn't really pick one over the others.
On Fedor possibly fighting in the Octagon some day: I've known him a long time. Fedor's a nice guy. But I don't know what happened with him, and I don't know who the people are around him and what information they're giving him. I think it's just time for him to come into the UFC because the UFC is the biggest in the world now, and I think he could have a lot of success in the UFC.
On working as a trainer for other fighters: I love it. Demian Maia's training with me, coming to my gym, and I've prepared a very good camp for him. I've got three good guys who are his weight who are going to spar with him, and they have the style of his opponent, Nate Marquardt. We're going to train him to fight in the stand-up, that's the key for Demian. Because if you go to the ground with Demian, it's over. He's got the best jiu jitsu in MMA today.
On the new gym he opened in Las Vegas: It's a very, very good gym, and it's a gym for all people. A lot of people want to train MMA but they're afraid because they don't want to get hurt, they don't want to get punched in the face, they don't want to get kicked in the leg. I tell people they can come to my gym and they won't get hurt. It's just practice. We have guys here who have no contact, who are just in it to lose weight, to learn technique, and then we have guys who are MMA beginners, and then we have guys who are fighters and are here for some of the toughest training they can get. At my gym, all of these people can train.
On his Round 5 figurines: It's very good product, and it's cool to see my own figure. It's like me -- it looks like my face, and the people at Round 5 got it right. I love it. A lot of people will buy it because they like to collect things, a lot of people will buy it because their kids want to play with it, and a lot of people will buy it because they like martial arts. I'm very happy with it.
On what he's doing outside the cage: I'm working hard to promote mixed martial arts around the world. I'm here in Toronto trying to explain to people the rules, and how big the shows are. Toronto is a big city, we have a lot of fans here -- if we could get fights here we could fill a stadium -- and there's a lot of opportunity here. I'm working to make MMA the biggest sport in the world, and to give more fighters an opportunity.
Follow MMA? Follow me on Twitter.