“I believe on fight night, I will be 100 percent.”
That was the farthest thing from former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva’s mind 10 months ago.
Silva suffered a severely broken leg in his UFC 168 headlining rematch with middleweight champion Chris Weidman. Silva launched one of his thunderous leg kicks, but it was checked by the champion. That’s when Silva’s left tibia and fibula snapped.
He tried to put weight on the leg, immediately crumpling to the floor in agony.
The fight was over, but soon after, Silva thought his career was as well.
“It was very tough moments. It’s something I don’t like to remember too much,” said Silva at press conference in Brazil on Tuesday. “It was a lot of pain, the moment when I broke my leg. When I realized my leg was broken, I thought my career was over.
“A million things went through my mind. I was depressed; I was very upset. If I didn’t have the people that I have by my side, maybe I wouldn’t come back.”
Everyone rallied around Silva. Everyone from UFC president Dana White and company CEO Lorenzo Fertitta to Silva’s longtime coach, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, to entrusted doctors, family, and friends.
Their web of support gave “The Spider” the inspiration to rally himself and target a return to the Octagon.
The injury was a setback, but may also have served as an unwanted impetus to refocus.
“In the beginning it was a trauma for me, but not anymore,” said Silva. “I think that I’m coming back in a new phase of my life. It wasn’t a good experience, but I don’t think it’s going to be a hinder on me.
“My motivation to fight is always the will inside me to fight. (I changed a lot) I’m more mature,” he continued. “I’m very happy to be able to come back and do this again. I didn’t think I’d be able to do this again.”
He used to not like some of the training he had to do. It had become a chore. Now, graced with the opportunity to do something he thought he’d never be able to do again, Silva is happy dealing with the minutiae. He’s happy to be doing the simple things, such as running.
“Now, I’m running every day, like Forrest Gump. Now, my main motivation is to come back and do what I’ve done (before).”
And for those that think that means Silva is returning just long enough to get in the Octagon and prove that he could overcome the strife and recover from such a debilitating injury, no, that’s not it.
Proving to everyone, mostly himself, that he could come back, is surely a part of the motivation, but Silva’s not in it for a one-and-done effort when he steps in the Octagon with Nick Diaz at UFC 183 on Jan. 31.
He still has seven fights left on a 10-fight UFC contract. At 39 years of age, he intends to fulfill the contract… and maybe more.
“I intend to do all of my fights,” said Silva. “And Dana said before the seven fights are over, so you don’t run away, we’ll renegotiate your contract again. He’s the boss. It’s all good.”