Silva (18-4) lost to Velasquez in his promotional debut at UFC 146 on May 26, 2012, but this time around things are different heading into the fight.
“I think the main thing is in our first fight I was nervous and I was anxious. I have replaced those emotions. Now I’m calm and I’m driven, I really want this,” said Silva on a media conference call promoting the event.
While Silva is in a different place mentally than he was a year ago, his preparation has remained largely the same. The game plan, however, has been slightly modified.
“A lot of my preparation has been the same as it was for the first fight,” said Silva. “Obviously in the first fight I made a big mistake. But there were a lot of things that I did right going into that fight and that unfortunately you guys didn’t get to see. So much has maintained and overall the main strategy is just not to let his elbows get near my forehead. That would be the change.”
Velasquez (11-1) utilized his wrestling to quickly get the fight to the ground when the two first met at UFC 146. From there, he unleashed a barrage of punches and elbows that left Silva bloodied and beaten, but Silva feels he’s only one punch away from victory.
“Comparing my style of fighting to Cain’s style of fighting, I would have to be born again to become faster than Cain Velasquez. I’ve got 30 pounds on him. He’s going to be faster than me. So I need to work with what I have and what I have is very, very heavy hands,” said Silva.
“I’m going to need to keep my hands healthy and heavy to go in there and I’m sure that the first punch that I really land, he’s going to go down,” added the 33-year-old heavyweight. “I have a lot of respect for Cain Velasquez, I think he’s an incredible fighter, and I respect him as a person. But I’m very confident in myself and I feel very good going into this fight.”
Silva is a heavy underdog heading into the rematch, but relishes the role and sees it as an opportunity to silence his critics.
“I like when people underestimate me. It’s nice. I get to go out there and I get to show them wrong,” he said. “There are no superheroes in this sport, nobody is invincible. And I’ve been putting in a lot of hard work for the last nine weeks. I have been preparing myself and I’m very confident that I’m going to have my arm raised on May 25.”
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