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Bruno Silva says several middleweights have turned him down: ‘I thought that wouldn’t happen in the UFC’

UFC Fight Night: Pereira v Silva
Bruno Blindado (right) fought to a decision with Alex Pereira in March.
Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Bruno Silva feels that going toe-to-toe with former GLORY champion and UFC contender Alex Pereira shortened the list of middleweights willing to face him inside the octagon.

Silva was on a seven-fight knockout streak going into his clash with Pereira, with the past three in the UFC, when he lost a decision to Pereira in March. Silva returns Saturday night against Gerald Meerschaert at UFC San Diego.

“I already imagined our paths would cross eventually,” Silva said of Meerschaert on this week’s episode of MMA Fighting’s Trocação Franca, revealing that Meerschaert wasn’t the first name offered by UFC matchmaker Mick Maynard. “The UFC offered me a fight with [Andre Muniz] ‘Sergipano’ in April, but I couldn’t fight [due to my medical suspension].

“They sent me a few names, but they weren’t accepting it. … Mick didn’t say, but I know of three [fighters that turned it down]. I won’t say who, because it’s not cool, but I know three [turned it down] in two days. And there are others Mick didn’t mention.

“I thought that wouldn’t happen in the UFC. We saw that outside the UFC, guys seeking easier fights, avoiding tough fights. I guess it’s the same everywhere, people planning careers and trying to protect the fighter.

“You’ll have to fight the big fish one day or the other. They know it won’t be easy against me, right? They know I’ll punch back if they take me down, I’ll get back up and brawl, I’ll fight three rounds. Not everyone wants a 50-50 fight. Most of them want a fight they know they have a bigger chance of winning.”

Silva believes that going the distance with Pereira, who demolished Sean Strickland months later to earn a shot at 185-pound king Israel Adesanya, made Maynard’s job even harder.

“My Instagram went crazy when [Pereira] knocked out [Strickland],” he said. “I think I got 800 followers in a day. A lot of people sending me messages, even people that didn’t like me. ‘I thought ‘Poatan’ was going to kill you, but you deserve respect.’

“I want to be champion and make a lot of money. I don’t like shortcuts. Every fighter has a story and an idea for their careers. Some want to fight in the UFC for money, others just want to fight in the UFC to get women, and others want to fight in the UFC to say they fight in the UFC. I want to leave a legacy and make a lot of money and fight everybody.”

When Meerschaert was offered to Silva as one of the middleweights that agreed to fight him, the Brazilian slugger was thrilled because “he’s very experienced in the UFC.”

“That’s the type of fighter I want to fight,” he said. “People that have a name, people that get me ranked or at least closer to the ranking with a win. He has good jiu-jitsu – wrestling isn’t his thing, but he has good takedowns. He’s weird on the feet, but he’s no fool. He has a lot of experience, more than 40 MMA fights.

“I’ll have to balance aggressiveness and calm in this fight. I can’t go there and brawl with him because I would be closing the distance and allowing him to grab me and turn it into a boring fight. That’s his chance in this fight, or me going there with my chin up high and getting punched in the face. He’s a grappler but he got heavy hands.

“I have to punch him and make him feel pain. My goal is to make him crumble in pain. Hit him and hit him smart. It’s not a brawl. If I smell blood, my goal is to hit him so hard even the pictures hanging on the wall of his house will fall down.”

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