When Anderson Silva enters the boxing ring this Saturday to face fellow UFC legend Tito Ortiz in the co-main event of Triller Fight Club’s pay-per-view in Hollywood, Fla., he’ll already have another MMA superstar in mind for a future boxing showdown.
Speaking on the debut episode of MMA Fighting’s first-ever Portuguese-language podcast Trocação Franca, “The Spider” revealed that he’s going to push for the idea of facing former UFC two-division champion Georges St-Pierre in a future bout — a superfight that never came to fruition in MMA but could finally happen inside the squared circle.
“It’s a possibility,” Silva said. “Georges St-Pierre is a guy that deserves all respect. Not only him, but all fighters. Vitor [Belfort], Tito [Ortiz], [Oscar] De La Hoya — they are legends. And I think it would be an interesting fight, but we need the almighty to stop being annoying and let the guy move on.”
The “almighty” Silva is referring to is UFC president Dana White who, according to St-Pierre, recently prevented him from boxing Oscar De La Hoya despite St-Pierre’s status as a retired MMA fighter.
“Nothing coming from Dana surprises me, brother,” Silva said. “I would like [White] to free him [from his contract]. He’s in shape to continue fighting, there’s no reason why you would keep him stuck [there] just for ego. It’s ridiculous. That’s my opinion, it’s ridiculous. Let the guy go.
“He doesn’t want to fight MMA anymore and there’s a possibility he fights two, three, four, five more years in boxing, doing the new normal. He won’t fight a young guy, he’ll fight a De La Hoya, he’ll fight someone that gives him conditions to perform well. But you’ll hold him to a contract after everything he’s done for your company? Doing something like that is ridiculous. It’s ridiculous. You don’t need that.”
Silva parted ways with the UFC after losing to Uriah Hall in October 2020, and promptly put on a spectacular performance in his return to boxing against former world champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in Mexico. Asked if he feels “free” outside the UFC, Silva noted that he was “never under Dana White’s command, quite the opposite,” which is one reason why the two fight game stalwarts were always “clashing heads.”
“Myself, Tito, and other athletes that also didn’t keep their heads down ended up having problems,” Silva said. “Dana White is Dana White, he’s the UFC’s main representative. In my opinion, he’s not — the athletes are — but as long as athletes don’t stand [together] the correct way and be afraid of taking a stand, that will continue to happen.
“The new generation has it in their mind that they want to go to the UFC — ‘I want to go to the UFC’ — but they are not united, right? If athletes were united and understood their value in the sport and inside the UFC, that would change [everything] for the next generations.
“But I had great moments in the UFC. I’ve had my battles with Dana, but it’s all clear now. My personal opinion about him is one [thing], and my professional opinion about him is another one.”
Silva reigned as the UFC middleweight king for eight years, but never publicly voiced his support for a fighters’ union during his stellar MMA career. St-Pierre was part of the Mixed Martial Arts Athletes Association at one point in 2016, however the MMAAA quickly faded away without making any real impact in the sport.
Even though “The Spider” wants MMA athletes to be more united, he doesn’t agree with those who decide to battle the UFC after agreeing to a deal.
“I think that those who aren’t happy have to look at the contract first before agreeing to something with the UFC, that way it’s easy to see and take your career where you want,” he said. “When you sign a contract and get yourself stuck to this contract and there’s no way to negotiate, then it’s complicated to criticize Dana White.
“You’ve signed the contract, the contract came and went, you saw it, and then you’re criticizing the guy? He’s going to do what’s best for his company. And you, as an athlete, have to understand that you’re your own company and have to take care of it. And your representatives have to fight for your rights, which isn’t the case with most managers. It’s complicated.”
What must happen for this situation to change, then?
“Only if we get Thanos’ stones and snap our fingers,” Silva said with a laugh. “Bring Royce Gracie in charge of the UFC. I’m kidding. I don’t know, brother. Only Thanos’ stones could solve this.”
Check out the first episode of MMA Fighting’s Brazilian podcast Trocação Franca. The Anderson Silva interview begins at 32:47.