Wanderlei Silva is an icon in mixed martial arts. “The Axe Murderer” ruled the roost as the Pride middleweight champion in Japan. But even after Zuffa bought the venerable Japanese fight promotion and ultimately had to close its doors, Silva is as popular as ever.
He has struggled through his time in the Octagon. His record is just 2-3 in his latest stint in the UFC. Fans, however, forgive his losses because they simply love watching Wand fight. They don’t care if he holds a belt, or is rocketing up the rankings.
He’s well aware of that fact.
Silva hasn’t fought in more than a year due to some surgeries, recovery time, and a little bit of doubt.
“There were moments of doubt if I was going to come back,” Silva said in a recent video post on his YouTube channel.
He relies very heavily on his fan support. Silva’s fans came through for him, helping him through the recovery process, and ultimately leading him to a fight against Chris Leben at UFC 132.
“Every sentence I read, each day, is a great help,” Silva said of his fans. “You guys give me great strength.”
Silva’s overall record is 33-10-1. He is a fighter, much like the recently retired Randy Couture, that transcends wins and losses. The title runs are all well and good, but when Wanderlei Silva steps in the Octagon, his passion for the fight is what shines through. He is a fighter’s fighter, as well as a fan’s fighter. He loves to scrap.
Silva was offered a fight with Brian Stann, but Stann, as good a fighter as he is and every improving, doesn’t bring the same fight to the table that Leben does.
“Chris Leben is a brave guy that comes to fight. His fighting style is pretty similar to mine,” Silva assessed.
Leben is cut from the same cloth and should make for the type of fight that Silva is known for, the type of fight that his fans crave. Neither fighter is expected to pull any punches and that’s how Silva wants it. In fact, he demands it.
“I want to show everyone that I am ready again,” he said. “Leben, train hard, because my fans want to see a show on July 2.”