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Highlights from Anderson Silva’s first -- and last -- media appearance before return

Guilherme Cruz, MMA Fighting

Ten months after he broke his leg in the cage and the eulogies began pouring in, Anderson Silva appeared on a stage in Brazil to explain that he’s back, baby. Silva answered questions for over an hour at a UFC press conference on Tuesday, touching on everything from the extensive rehab he’s undergone to his upcoming fight with Nick Diaz.

If you missed any of it we’re sorry to hear that, because Silva made it clear that this would be the last bit of media he’ll be doing before the fight, which happens in a month that right now can’t be seen with ordinary binoculars (end of January). We will know which teams are in the Super Bowl before we’ll hear from the mysterious Agent X again. Silva, for all intents and purposes, is about to become a ghost.

But before he does, the world’s greatest mixed martial artist held court one last time to let everybody know he’s alive and well and particularly ready to kick some ass. And really, he looked great. That smile was back. His arms were like cold cannons ready to be fired off across the gray Saint Lawrence. His sense of humor? Bizarrely intact. In fact, one might say he was even a little hammier than usual.

So, let’s soak in Anderson’s last publicity before he gets serious about re-re-retiring Nick Diaz.

The Leg
Most of the questions lobbed at Silva naturally had to do with his left leg, which snapped brutally at the shin (tibia and fibula) at UFC 168 against Chris Weidman’s knee. Would he be the same? Would he mentally be able to throw kicks with the same slashing abandon that he once did? Would there be hesitation? Is it even humanly possible?

On this front, Silva -- and his doctors who were sitting with him in futurist swivel chairs -- assured everyone that he would be fine.

"I believe on fight night I will be 100 percent," he said. "The training sessions have been very good, I still execute all the same kicks. I kick without any fear."

As for the hell he’s endured in bringing himself back to the point where he could compete, at 39 years old, after the nightmare that was UFC 168, well…Silva said it wasn’t exactly easy.

"It was a very tough moment," he said. "I play around because I have to play around, so I’m playing around a lot with this thing, but it’s something I don’t like to remember too much. I went through the worst months of my life. It was a lot of pain.

"The moment when I broke my leg, when I realized my leg was broken, I thought my career was over. A million things went through my mind. You might think depression is not something serious, but I was depressed, I was very upset. If I didn’t have the people that I have by my side, maybe I wouldn't have come back."

On the highly abstract concept of him and DMX rolling to the hole together
Somebody wanted to know if Silva would accommodate rapper DMX’s (alleged) desire to walk out with him for a fight. Silva, after all, walks out to DMX’s "No Sunshine" anyway, so it makes all kinds of sense (except it makes really no sense at all [which is perfect for Silva, who has been seen with people like Usher and Steven Seagal on fight night]).

Recently, Dana White told a scrum that he’d allow that to happen if, you know, those two parties would cool with it. Asked about that, Silva sort of weighed out the pros and cons.

"It would be an honor," Silva said. "I’ve always been a fan of DMX, I love his music…not all the other stuff he does in his private life. But I’m a big fan of his music. He’s a very talented guy. He got lost along the way, but I think it would be cool. It would be something that we’ve never seen. The guy coming in singing my song? Oh my god, my legs would be shaking."

The Eight-Fight Contract
There has been a running paradox with Silva that for years now has had the media running around in circles chasing its own tail. Throughout the second half of his 16-fight unbeaten UFC reign, there was a low-chatter that Silva would soon retire. That, indeed, the horizon was on his mind. That every time we see Anderson Silva in the Octagon we should cherish it, because the moment for such luxuries was fleeting.

Now that he’s nearly a quadragenarian, belt-less and has a rod in his left leg, his camp is talking about fighting out the rest of his eight-fight contract. That means seven more fights in the UFC. Just when retirement actually feels like a natural thing to contemplate, Silva is buckling down for the long haul. Now the horizon is riding into him.

Absurd, right? No sir. Not according to Silva, who has media now changing direction to chase its tail the other way.

"Look, I’m going to tell you -- I am going to do all of my fights," he said. "And Dana has already said, before the seven fights are over, so you don’t run away, we’ll renovate your contract. He’s the boss. It’s all good."

Renovate the contract? Like, give it crown molding, some granite countertops and a lazy Susan? Or add more fights with different figures?

WTF? WTF indeed.

The Old Lion, Vitor Belfort
Before the Grünewald hellscapes with Weidman, one of my own favorite pastimes was to ask Silva about his old nemesis Vitor Belfort, because his face would skew up like he was trying to pass silent gas.

Those times have changed. This Silva is more mature, and has the bigger picture in mind. When somebody asked Silva who he thought would win the title fight between Belfort and Weidman, which is slated for February, Silva sided with his countryman.

"My personal opinion about Vitor, of all the athletes in the 185-pound weight class, my personal opinion…he’s the most complete athlete," he said of the venerable Young Dinosaur. "He’s more explosive, he’s got better boxing, good jiu-jitsu, good wrestling."

"Weidman is a new athlete. He’s a new generation. He’s not my generation, he’s not Vitor’s generation -- he’s a young athlete, and he’s coming out very strong. It’s a fight everyone is going to want to see. With all my energy I’m going to be rooting for Vitor to win."

Silva then went into brief but expansive detail towards his way of thinking, saying that, for starters, the title was never his, it was Brazil’s. And that’s why he doesn’t like fighting Brazilians. Because the title, he said, is international. So if there’s two Brazilians fighting for the belt it’s a little "suspect." And things.

Still, at another juncture of the Q&A Silva brought his own clone back into the equation, a clone that is presumably as Brazilian as it is fictional. Back in the day, you might recall, Silva shrugged off questions as to whom he’d like to fight next by commonly answering, "my clone."

There wasn’t one then.

But then again…

On the "New Anderson," Michael Page
Though Nah-Shon Burrell was hell-bent on suffocating Michael Page in the Bellator cage last week, Silva said he liked the wavy Brit in all his undulating glory. In fact, people have started to call Page the "New Anderson," because both like to get a little freaky with space, and all it takes is a split second of idle action for them to start bugging out like Jamiroquai.

Somebody asked Silva his thoughts on Michael "Venom" Page, who these days is referred to as "MVP."

"He’s good," Silva said. "No seriously, he’s really good," he added, just to reiterate that he wasn’t just saying that.

On fighting Chris Weidman a third time
Would he fight him again? Fuggin-A right he’d fight Chris Weidman again! Don’t be dumb.

Perhaps because this would be his one and only media appearance, Silva was pretty open on the more philosophical topics, such as emulating Spiderman in his childhood.

When asked about being involved in an upcoming season of The Ultimate Fighter, the promotion’s vehicle to discover tomorrow’s stars while keeping them in custody, Silva fairly blew the franchise up there for a minute.

"I think the Ultimate Fighter is sensational," he said. "But I think what needs to be changed are a few things in it that aren’t very cool."

What’s not cool is the in-house hijinks, he said, the stuff that goes on as a sideline to the competition – you know, the spritzing of beds, the hanging of panties on posters, the image of young Chris Holdsworth eating Mexican food. That’s the stuff Silva said he doesn’t really want to be a party to.

"It passes an image that not very real," he said, citing that when he was coming up as a fighter that he had nothing but his drive to be great.

In other words, those people on TUF are entitled babies.

But would he coach on it? Yeaaah. He would. It’s normal.

Oh, and the people he’d like to see coach on the next TUF Brazil are Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and Shogun Rua, a couple of cats he knows.

On boxing
Another of Silva’s flirtations was to one day fight Roy Jones Jr. in a boxing match. With his fight against the Stockton Slapper Nick Diaz coming up, somebody wanted to know if this was the next best thing to a boxing fight.

Here Silva’s eyes got big for a split second.
"Dana took the candy away from me," he said. "But fighting Diaz will be an MMA fight."

So it will, and, if Silva has his way, that’ll be the next time we hear from him. On January 31 in Las Vegas. And so until then...

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