After a 52-second finish and his fourth bonus in the UFC, Erick Silva will have the opportunity to headline a UFC card for the first time, and he’s doing it against top welterweight contender Matt Brown in Cincinnati, Ohio, on May 10.
Silva will fight in the Unites States for the second time in his professional career, but that doesn’t seem to bother the Brazilian. He only needed one round to tap Charlie Brenneman at UFC on FX 3’s co-main event in Florida in 2012, and wants to impress once again.
"This will be a great opportunity to get the American fans to know me better," Silva told MMAFighting.com. "It’s an important step in my career.
"I’ll fight in his home town so I already expect to be booed, but I’m ready for that. I always fought against the crowd and it was never a problem. If you’re a UFC fighter, and let the emotions about the fans take control, you started with the wrong foot."
Brown returns to the Octagon fully recovered from the back injury that forced him out of a bout with Carlos Condit in December, and enters the cage riding a six-fight win streak with five knockouts. Silva, 4-3 in the UFC, welcomes the unexpected opportunity at UFC Fight Night 40.
"I wasn’t expecting this, but I don’t choose fights," he said. "I’m not worried about rankings or the title now. I’m focused on doing good fights and doing well in the UFC. I’m honored to fight him, and I’m going there to win. They gave an opponent of this caliber, so I’ll make sure to show that they made the right call."
"I couldn’t show in my last fight how experienced I am now," said Silva, who demolished Takenori Sato in 52 seconds at UFC Fight Night 36 in February. "I’m more experienced and calm now after everything I’ve experienced inside the Octagon.
"I’m really motivated for this fight. This opportunity came in the right time. I had great opportunities in the past against top opponents, like against Jon Fitch, but I wasn’t so mature at that time. This is a whole different moment in my career, with a new mindset."
Styles makes fights, and Silva, who has finished opponents in 13 of his 16 MMA wins, is confident that he will win two in a row for the first time in the UFC.
"I’ll talk to my coaches and watch his fights, see what he does well and the holes in his game," he said. "I know he’s tough and likes to stand and bang, that he has heavy hands, but that’s where I like to fight as well. I’m sure that I’ll stay calm and give the fans a great show."