No, Wanderlei Silva is not literally bringing an axe to murder anyone at UFC 132, so calm down.
This Saturday marks the comeback fight for the former Pride middleweight champion and it couldn’t come soon enough.
The fighter MMA fans lovingly call “The Axe Murderer” – yes, lovingly… affectionately, even – has been on the shelf with an injury for the past 17 months. Saying he’s anxious to get back in the Octagon would be a gross understatement. With that said, Silva is prepping for his return and holding it in the highest regard.His first fight back from the injured reserve is no cakewalk either. Chris “The Crippler” Leben and his granite chin will be waiting for Silva on the opposite side of the Octagon on July 2, so getting back in the swing of things has a strong possibility of being a “crippling” experience.
But that’s what Silva is looking for. No cupcake fights for Wand; only the 100-percent, grade-A, prime-cut meat fights that make mixed martial arts so brutally exciting. Silva wants fights with guys that will step up to the plate and trade shots like they’re going out of style.
And that’s what he’s getting in Leben.
“The fight is real important for me,” Silva said recently. “I’ve been out and it’s been a hard year for me. And this is a reason why I train so hard for (this) fight. And finally, I want to fight with some guys (like Chris). He wants to fight with me because my other opponents run. Some guys stand in front of me for a couple of minutes and start to run. I think my next opponent, Chris, is going to really come and want to fight. And I think the fans are going to have a great show on July 2.”
Silva is a competitor… obviously. He’s been competing in mixed martial arts since before a lot of fans were old enough to buy a ticket to an R-rated movie, let alone watch a bloody pay-per-view cage fight. Competing for that long means one of two things: either a fighter is strapped for cash or they have a fire to fight like few others.
It’s safe to say that Wand more accurately reflects the latter.
Since he’s so competitive, sitting on the deck while watching other middleweights make their marks in the UFC’s 185-pound division was a tough cookie to swallow. Luckily, Silva is beyond famous in MMA and the overwhelming support he gets from his fans appears to keep him motivated and level-headed enough to where he goes into his highly anticipated fight with laser focus.
“Yes, this is not so easy because I’m competitive guy,” Silva said. “I like to be inside the Octagon and I (have) fought my whole life. I have (had) a really tough year, but I have unbelievable support from my fans. My fans (are) sending me (messages) every day and are giving good support. For that, guys, I really want to give you one good show. And I want to show the best Wanderlei Silva for my fans.”
Nothing like going back to your roots. For his fight with Leben, Silva returned to training under his old Chute Boxe coach, Rafael Cordeiro. Training under Cordeiro, who now heads up the pro team at Kings MMA in Southern California, has afforded him the opportunity to train with some of the best fighters in the world. A stellar camp with names like ‘Shogun’ and Werdum will surely prepare any fighter for even the toughest of competition.
Training with guys like that nearly guarantees getting beat up. But that kind of thing is welcomed, according to Silva.
Thank you, sir, may I have another?!
“(Cordeiro) has 16 different guys, professional guys,” Silva detailed. “There are 16 guys fighting in Strikeforce and in the UFC. And we have a great camp there. I train with ‘Babulu’ (Sobral), Shogun (Rua) and (Fabricio) Werdum. And, man, it’s so tough. These guys, they kick my ass every day, but this makes me stronger. I’m ready for everything for that next fight, standing, on the ground, taking it everywhere.”
Wanderlei Silva versus Chris Leben has all the makings to be a “Fight of the Night” or “Knockout of the Night” award winner. Don’t blink in this one because fireworks are guaranteed on July 2 – a whole two days before they’re supposed to on the 4th of July.
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