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Andrei Arlovski ignores haters, focuses on ‘dangerous’ ‘Bigfoot’ Silva

Gaspar Nobrega/UFC

Andrei Arlovski fought Antonio Silva during the darkest years of the former UFC heavyweight champion's career. He was coming off quick knockout losses to Fedor Emelianenko and Brett Rogers, and many fans hoped that he’d just retire from the sport.

He kept going, and entered the Strikeforce cage against a big heavyweight in "Bigfoot." He was still the betting favorite, but lost a unanimous decision. Months later, Arlovski joined the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix, but suffered another stoppage loss, to Sergei Kharitonov.

Four losses in a row. That’s it, said the doubters. There’s no way he would ever come back after that.

Arlovski never listened to the talk, and it paid off.

"The Pitbull" proved them wrong with seven wins in nine bouts, earning himself another shot in the UFC after six years away from the promotion. He came back with a win, defeating Brendan Schaub in his Octagon return.

"I don’t really care what people said that Arlovski should retire," Arlovski told MMAFighting.com. "I just train to go. I have the same motivation to fight one of the best fighters, and ‘Bigfoot’ definitely is going to be a really dangerous fight for me."

Arlovski will face off against "Bigfoot" in the main event of UFC Fight Night 51 in Brasilia, Brazil, on Saturday, and he expects a different outcome at the Nilson Nelson gymnasium.

"It’s going to be different," he said. "I got better from 2010, and I’m just ready to go. I hope I will fight better this time. Everything changed, 100 percent. I want to be the best and I want to fight the best fighters. It’s going to be a big fight."

Fifteen years after his professional MMA debut, Arlovksi faces a new challenge against the number four-ranked heavyweight in front of the latter's hometown fans in Brazil.

A month before the bout, Arlovski traveled to the capital of Brazil for media obligations, and said he felt like he was at home.

"So far I like the city, people here were nice to me. So far, so good," he said. "It’s not too different from my hometown.

"I don’t know how the crowd is going to react in my fight against ‘Bigfoot.’ I think they are going to be on his side, but a few people I know are going to be on my side, so I wanna fight for those people."

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