Wanderlei Silva has a specific finish in mind for his return to Japan's Saitama Super Arena, home of some of the greatest moments of his five-year reign as Pride 205-pound champion.
At a press conference promoting Saturday's UFC on Fuel 8 main event against Brian Stann, Silva told the world how he envisions the fight ending: "I promise I'll knock him out in the third round," he said.
But that wasn't the only bold statement "The Axe Murderer" made. At this stage of the game, every time the 36-year-old Silva steps into the Octagon, the question of whether this will be his final MMA appearance isn't too far behind.
With his first fight at the Super Arena since 2006, the questions are even louder. So Silva made it clear he's not about to quit: "Not yet," he said.
This is Silva's fight fight at 205 pounds since his knockout loss to Quinton Jackson at UFC 92. Since then, he's primarily fought at middleweight, along with the occasional catchweight bout. Silva wouldn't say the move back to light heavyweight -- where he's meeting Stann, another 205-pounder-turned-middleweight -- is permanent. But he hinted he's had has fill of cutting all that weight.
"It's too hard, you know?" Silva said. "My opponent fights 185, he accepts to fight 205,. It's better now, because my diet's hard."
Asked specifically if he's going to stay at 205, he said "I don't know, maybe."
Stann, meanwhile, understands that Silva is likely to be the overwhelming fan favorite in the arena on fight night, at the scene of so many of Silva great victories. The way Stann sees it, that's okay, because he, too, is a Wanderlei Silva fan.
"The popularity of my opponent, Wanderlei Silva, is very well deserved," Stann said. "I myself, when I first thought about coming into this sport, my favorite fighter was Wanderlei Silva. I would watch his fights in Pride and I would just marvel at the tenacity that he brought inside of the ring and how he fought. Not only that, but the way he treated other people and the way he conducted himself, I've always admired all of those qualities in him."
"So for me to come into this fight, obviously I'm not going to be the more popular fighter, but Wanderlei's earned that," Stann continued. "He deserves that right, and I'm so happy that he gets the opportunity to return to Japan, where he had some of his greatest accomplishments, and I'm glad that I get to be his opponent. "