Former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva has been physically cleared to train full force, as he sees fit. Silva also already has his return bout booked, as he’ll face Nick Diaz in a non-title fight at UFC 183 on Jan. 31 in Las Vegas.
The fight comes without the pressures of being a champion, and will be Silva’s first 185-pound non-title bout since he fought Travis Lutter at UFC 67 in 2007.
It does, however, come accompanied by the haunting memories of the pain and disappointment stemming from a gruesome broken leg suffered in his challenge of middleweight champion Chris Weidman at UFC 168 last December.
There is no physical pain, but Silva admits that fear lingers in his head.
“I feel no pain at all,” Silva said in a Portuguese interview with Fantastico, which was translated to English by MMAFighting.com. “My strength is back because I’m back to training. The hardest part is self-confidence, to kick again as I used to.
“I’ve worked with a psychologist so I can get rid of the ghosts of those horrible moments of that fight, when I had that accident. I’m a little apprehensive in training. I know I can execute the movement, but I end up not doing it for fear.”
He realizes that, logically, his fear doesn’t make sense, but considering that when he last launched one of his normally devastating kicks in a fight, it was he who suffered the devastating results, the fear is understandable.
When Weidman checked Silva’s kick, the former champion’s lower leg snapped in two. Both his tibia and fibula broke and he was quickly rushed off to surgery, a titanium rod inserted in his lower leg.
“I won’t get hurt,” he continued. “I know I won’t get hurt, but fear is natural. I don’t want to feel that pain ever again. No way.”
As he works to rid his mind of the ghosts lingering in his head, Silva is also physically preparing for his return to the Octagon, and he intends to do so, at least for now, in Brazil.
While Silva has spent much time in recent years in the United States preparing for his bouts, he has longed for the comforts of his home country, and plans to train in Brazil as he regroups for the Diaz fight.
“I feel better training in Brazil,” he said. “So I can be at my 100 percent to return to fighting, I’d rather train in Brazil.”
While many people were surprised that Silva didn’t decide to retire following the devastating injury – he almost immediately declared that he would return – Silva now admits that his hunger for the UFC middleweight championship has subsided, and that he is nearing the final days of his career.
“I’m over this thing of being champion, having the title,” he said. “I don’t have patience for this. I think I’m closer to retirement every day.”