by Jeff Cain
He’s got the job that everyone wants, and everyone criticizes. UFC matchmaker, Joe Silva, spoke with MMAWeekly SoundOff Radio about several of this Saturday night’s UFC 54 match ups. To hear the interview in it’s entirety, click on the radio archive. Along with UFC 54, Joe discussed Frank Mir’s situation, Assuerio Silva, as well as the latest on “Ninja” Rua competing in the UFC. You won’t find it anywhere else but MMAWeekly.com.
The main event of the night is the rematch between light heavyweight champion Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell and Jeremy Horn. Discussing the bout, Silva said, “You have a guy who pretty much always wins by knockout fighting a guy who’s never been knocked out. That’s always intriguing. Could he be the first? That’s like Chuck’s personal challenge. He’s stated a bunch of times he’s the first man to knockout Babalu, the first man to knockout Randy Couture. He wants to be the first man to knockout Jeremy Horn. The thing that intrigues me is that I felt, you know having followed Jeremy’s career for a long time, that Jeremy’s one of those guys who is as talented as any body in the world who’s really good. I don’t think he’s too small. I mean the guy has fought at heavyweight. But I always felt he just, in the big matches, he’d come up short, and part of that could be attributed to the fact of he was more concerned with being a trainer than a fighter.”
He continued, “Everybody that you hear from out of that camp, any body who had any association with that is like oh Jeremy, he taught me 80% of what I know. He would just get in what ever workout he could get helping out other people. It’s not the same thing as, you know, as prepare me. This is about me, and I need to be as sharp as I can, and do all the things that I need to do to be the best I can. This is his first time ever doing that…He has a strength coach, a conditioning coach, and nutritional, and every body’s coming to help him out, specifically to help him. He’s not allowed to coach anyone else…It will be interesting to see if that is the thing that will push him over the top.”
One of the most highly anticipated bouts on the UFC 54 card is Frank Trigg vs George St.Pierre. “That’s a fight that everybody wants to see is Trigg and St.Pierre. including me. That’s the fun thing in my position is, you know I’ve done this, I’ve been with the UFC for like eleven years, and you do, there’s times when you do get burnt out. You get a little down sometimes on the sport, and it’s great when you can make a fight that you yourself are just genuinely thrilled to see. That you can just be a fan again, and just go wow. This is going to be a great fight, so yeah I love that fight.” Said Silva.
Randy “The Natural” Couture takes on Mike Van Arsdale. Discussing the fight, and what Van Arsdale brings to the table, Joe said, “He’s an excellent, excellent athlete. He’s a great wrestler. It’s going to be interesting because people are trying to compare their wrestling credentials directly, and it’s a little bit apples and oranges that one is really freestyle, and one is grecco. Talking with Randy about it, the one thing he does feel is that more grecco guys are exposed a lot more to freestyle than freestyle guys are exposed to grecco.”
This will be James Irvin’s second bout in the UFC, but it will be his debut as a light heavyweight. He’ll be facing Terry Martin. About Martin, Silva commented, “Terry Martin is a guy, he’s a little bit short for a light heavyweight, but he’s really strong, really aggressive. He’s willing to fight standing up. He’s willing to fight on the ground. He can slug. He can do submissions. He’s got a great attitude. He’s undefeated…It’s going to be interesting to see. James Irvin, he’s done well outside of the UFC. The one time people saw him in the UFC he didn’t do so well, but also it’s really hard. Your first UFC is tough on everybody, so he’s got some questions to answer…Anybody who trains with him says the kid is just awesome, but there are gym fighters and ring fighters. There’s no doubt in my mind the kid is an absolute terror in the gym. I’m interested to see can he transfer it to the octagon.”
Diego Sanchez makes his UFC pay-per-view debut against Brian Gassaway. Silva commented, “Brian Gassaway’s an excellent striker. He’s got a lot more experience than Diego Sanchez does. That kid’s got some serious wing span…That kid’s got some serious reach. I don’t think it would be in Diego’s best interest to stand up with him, but he also trains with Shonie Carter. He’s not a fish on the ground. He’s very aware of the ground work.”
To heal all of what the UFC matchmaker had to say, such as Frank Mir being stripped of his UFC heavyweight title, click on the radio archive. Along with UFC 54 and Frank Mir, Silva discussed Assuerio Silva’s status with the UFC, as well as “Ninja” Rua not fighting at UFC 55. It’s just five dollars a month to have access to the best MMA coverage on the net.