Bruno Silva won’t lie: the main reason he has issued a callout to Cody Garbrandt is popularity.
“No Love” is a popular ex-UFC bantamweight champion who has flirted with the idea of cutting down to flyweight in the past, previously getting booked to meet 125-pound champion Deiveson Figueiredo before eventually withdrawing from the bout, and “Bulldog” wants to finally welcome him to the division.
“What motivates me [to call him out] is the amount of followers he has,” Silva laughed during an interview with MMA Fighting following his 60-second knockout over Victor Rodriguez at UFC Vegas 27. “He’s pretty popular, everybody knows him, and that’s what we want as fighters, to become known and grow as fighters. He’s very popular, and that would help me grow as a fighter as well.”
Silva believes Garbrandt still has “plenty of options” for his next octagon appearance art either weight class despite losing four of his last five, and expects him to stay at bantamweight for the moment following a decision loss to Rob Font in the main event of UFC Vegas 27.
That said, Silva thinks cutting extra 10 pounds “is a great option for him, to go down and fight smaller guys.”
“It would be a banger, we would slug it out the entire time,” Silva said of a potential clash with Garbrandt. “It would be a very technical fight because it’s the highest level. F*ck, everybody would love this fight, no doubt about it. He has talked about going down, so here I am. If he comes down, I know a superflyweight [to fight him].”
If that bout doesn’t come to fruition, Silva loves the idea of facing fellow Brazilian flyweight Rogerio Bontorin, who won a decision over Matt Schnell in his most recent UFC bout earlier this month in Houston.
“Bontorin is ranked high [in the UFC] and it’s a good match-up for me,” Silva said. “I think I’m better than him in all areas. It would be a great fight for me.”
Silva had a rough start in the company by going winless in three appearances in a 12-month span, but managed to secure a new contract with the company after a bonus-winning knockout over JP Buys this past March.
With another extra $50,000 check in his pocket for a second straight violent finish at UFC Vegas 27, Silva feels vindicated.
“I’ve always trained well with high-level guys in the gym, but when you go out to prove yourself [and lose] you start to question yourself,” Silva said. “Can I really beat these guys? You start to question yourself, you have that doubt in your mind, but your confidence returns once you’re able to prove yourself and people start believing in you.
“I felt more relaxed after that first knockout. I said, ‘Man, I just have to go out there and do what I know. I don’t have to worry about contracts and money now, because I’ve made some good now.’”