In 2019, Claudio Silva started the process of moving to Florida full-time so he could train at American Top Team. But before he did that, he needed to travel back to London to make the move official. Then the coronavirus pandemic hit Europe, and “Hannibal” was stuck.
Now, the Brazilian welterweight finds himself in a scary situation. He’s lived in London for more than a decade, and he hasn’t seen Canary Wharf so deserted in his life.
“It’s very distressing,” Silva told MMA Fighting. “I don’t think anyone in the world thought we would go through a situation like this. I live in London and the streets are deserted. It looks like we’re walking in a ghost town. I live in one of the most populous neighborhoods in England, one of the most populous areas, and I don’t see anything happening.
“I don’t see anyone in the streets, stores are closed, places I’d never imagine are now empty. Streets are desert. It’s very sad to see the city like this.”
With lockdown orders forcing gyms to close doors, Silva said he’s training more than ever with his friends. A Russian weightlifter coordinates his strength and conditioning while another serves as his kickboxing partner.
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“I’ve never been so strong,” Silva said. “Amazingly, I’m training more now than before so I don’t stay at home, I don’t stay with my mind empty. There’s a park right in front of where I live, so I’m always training. We can stay at the park for an hour to train, so I’m using this time to work on my weak spots and rethink life. I hope the world population comes out of this quarantine as better human beings.”
Unbeaten since 2007 and victorious in five octagon appearances, Silva (14-1) can’t enter the U.S. right now. But he would “absolutely” agree to be part of one of UFC’s planned “Fight Island” shows.
“I’m ready to fight today,” he said. “Just send the jet, because I’m ready. I’ll fight any top-10 or top-15 [fighter] – I deserve it. I’m coming off five straight wins with three submissions in the world’s biggest promotion, and I haven’t fought a top contender yet. I’m always trained and ready to fight.”
Silva said he won’t be doing it for money because he’s financially “comfortable,” but he added, “I wanna fight and add more wins to my record.” His UFC run includes victories over the likes of Leon Edwards, Nordine Taleb and Danny Roberts.
“I hope they call me,” he said. “I know the UFC has 100s of athletes under contract, and it’s not easy to get everyone a fight, but I hope I get a call, because I’m undefeated in the UFC.”