It’s not often that a fighter that stands six-foot-four and weighs 265 pounds is the underdog to a fighter that stands six-foot and weighs 230 pounds, but that is exactly where Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva finds himself. In fact, he is an overwhelming underdog to “The Last Emperor.”
Silva isn’t fazed. He steps into the fight with the Russian relishing the fact that many people still consider Fedor amongst the top heavyweight fighters in the world.
“I am very happy to be fighting Fedor, who people still consider the No. 1 heavyweight in the world. Fedor is a legend and to be a legend you have to beat a legend. And I’m ready to be the best heavyweight in the world,” said Silva.
Most people don’t typically count Silva among the top two or three fighters in the division, but adding a win over Fedor to his already impressive 15-2 record would go a long way towards putting him in the midst of future conversations.
The fight with Fedor is the main event of Saturday’s Strikeforce fight card in New Jersey and one of the first two quarterfinal bouts in the Strikeforce World Heavyweight Grand Prix. Silva isn’t looking past Fedor with an eye to winning the tournament. To Silva, Fedor is his tournament.
“Fedor is the best, so this is the top of the food chain. For me, this is the final and I will give it all I have to make this happen,” said Silva. “This is my dream and I’m going to beat the legend and I’m going to be a legend.”
Fedor showed that he is mortal in losing to Fabricio Werdum his last time in the cage. It was the first time that the Russian conqueror has lost since a cut stopped him against Tsuyoshi Kohsaka more than a decade ago.
“One thing I have in my mind is that Werdum showed to the world that Fedor’s main weakness is on the ground,” Silva assessed. “But he’s a complete fighter and I’m going to follow where the fight goes.”
Fedor has faced fighters of the shear size of Silva before, and typically with stellar results. He easily finished both Korean giant Hong Man Choi and former UFC heavyweight champion Tim Sylvia early in the first round. It took Fedor a little longer – 10 minutes – to finish Heath Herring. And K-1 specialist Semmy Schilt was able to take Fedor the full three rounds of their fight before losing a decision.
Silva, however, has the most versatile arsenal of any of the big men that Fedor has faced. He is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, Judo, and Karate. His jiu-jitsu is especially good for a man of his size, so maybe he picked up a thing or two from Werdum’s win over Fedor.
Often talked about as the future of heavyweight division, Silva believes the future is now. He may have half the experience of Fedor, but thinks it is time for everything to converge in his favor for a win over the man who a year ago was seen as nearly invincible.
“Everyone has been saying that I can be the man to beat Fedor in the future. And now I know in my mind that I can beat him. I know this is the right time and that God has given me this time and that I can beat the great Fedor.”