Wanderlei Silva has a grappling tag team set for Rizin Fighting Federation’s upcoming show on April 17, and he’s considering it a warm-up for his return to mixed martial arts later this year.
"The Axe Murderer", who is still suspended by the Nevada Athletic Commission until May 2017, told Ariel Helwani on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour that his idea is to make his Bellator debut around June or July, and his opponent could be Kimbo Silce.
"I want to make interesting fights," Silva said. "In Bellator, one guy that I would love to fight is Kimbo. And I’m not going to the ground. I want to fight in his area. I want to do a good show, I want to give emotion to my fans. When I can’t do that I’m gonna really stop, but right now I feel good."
Silva announced his retirement from the sport after the controversies surrounding a random drug test in Las Vegas, but decided to return when the UFC granted him a release of his contract in January 2016.
"I like what (Scott Coker) and Mike (Kogan) are doing," said Silva, explaining why he decided to sign a deal with Bellator. "They offered me really good money, more than what I received before in the other event. I like the numbers. It’s good for me, it’s good for them, it’s good for the fans, I’m gonna (come) back."
The Brazilian veteran, who holds a 35-12-1-1 record in mixed martial arts, revealed that he will also compete in a Rizin tournament later this year.
"The truth is that I want to fight in the old Pride rules, I want to kick guys in the face on the ground," said the former Pride middleweight champion. "With that rule, I think I can fight with anyone.
"There (at Rizin), I’m gonna make the tournament," he added. "The first event is gonna be September, and they will finish the tournament in December with two fights in the night. I’m gonna be part of this tournament."
If everything goes right in 2016 for "The Axe Murderer", he is willing to face heavyweight legend Fedor Emelianenko, who recently returned from retirement with a quick finish over Jaideep Singh.
"I feel I’m gonna be back to the great moments of my life," Silva said of his return to Japan. "I hope I can fight against Fedor soon. I’m gonna fight a couple of guys before, of course, but I would love. I respect him, I like him, but the truth is I’d like to test myself against him.
"I don’t know why, when I was at the best moment of my life and he was in the best moment, I don’t know why these guys didn’t make this fight happen. They never offered me this fight. Why these guys didn’t make this fight when I’m champion and he’s champion? But we can do now, no problem. I think it’s going to be really interesting for the fans."