by Al Yu, translation by Ivan Canello – MMAWeekly.com
Known for his aggressive style, “The Axe Murderer” Wanderlei Silva has been one of the most popular and dominant fighters in Pride’s middleweight division for half a decade. In his last two fights, Silva suffered devastating back to back losses for the first time in his career. The former Pride Middleweight Champion recently spoke with Brazilian newspaper “Gazeta do Povo” about his current status with Pride and his future plans.
“I still do not have a contract with Pride. For now, I don’t know where I’m going to fight,” said Silva. “I met Dana [White] at one of my sponsor’s event. We had a short conversation, but we didn’t talk about contracts.”
Prior to his defeat at the hands of Dan Henderson, Wanderlei reigned as the Pride 205-pound champion for five years. The Chute Boxe fighter expressed his loyalty and appreciation for the organization that made him a star. “I owe Pride a lot, I’m faithful to them,” commented Silva. “I received a new proposal from Pride before the Fertitta/DSE deal. Now things are very uncertain and I don’t know if I’m going to fight this year. That’s why I’m going to wait. I have been training very hard. I’m still training as I wait for a deal. I’m going to enjoy this time to rest a little and spend time with my family.”
With the pending acquisition of Pride Fighting Championships by the Fertitta brothers, the obstacles in front of previously unattainable match-ups may no longer exist in the future. UFC President Dana White hinted at the possibility of a ‘Superbowl of MMA’ event that could happen once a year.
“It would be awesome if this event could take place this year,” responded the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt. “We are thinking about it; I really see this event taking place. I hope I can be on this fight card. From now on, I want to have great fights only with the best fighters. I’m searching for the belts.”
Recently, Pride legend and Japanese icon Kazushi Sakuraba returned to Brazil to train with Chute Boxe in preparation for his upcoming fight. On June 2nd, the “Gracie Hunter” will face UFC pioneer Royce Gracie in a rematch of their legendary battle from the Pride 2000 Grand Prix. The match will be a co-headliner for K-1’s Dynamite USA, the company’s first foray into the American MMA Market.
“Sakuraba showed us some of his new moves, he knows a lot. What is amazing is that he’s quiet; he’s an easy going guy and he trains everyday. The man is a professional,” complimented Wanderlei. “Despite what people say, he didn’t drink and he didn’t smoke. I think it is going to be an interesting fight.”
Back in February, UFC Heavyweight Champion Randy Couture opened up a gym, Xtreme Couture, in Las Vegas, Nevada. In addition to Couture himself, the new facility features instructors such as Jay Hieron, Mike Pyle, Ron Frazier, Gray Maynard, and Harout Terzyan. “[Randy] has the same sponsor as I do. The last time I was in the U.S., I had a dinner with him. From first impression, I saw that he’s a great guy. Maybe we can send one of our [Chute Boxe] instructors there [to Xtreme Couture],” expressed Silva.
Losing back to back fights was a difficult time for Wanderlei Silva. Having suffered two consecutive knock outs, fans wondered if the former champion would be able rebound from the tough losses. Rumors began to spread of Wanderlei’s intent to leave Chute Boxe. Silva put those rumors to rest.
“There’s no truth to that. I think that the thing I mostly stand for is loyalty. It’s impossible to find better masters than Rafael Cordeiro and Rudimar [Fedrigo], they are my mentors.”