I recently spoke with the UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva through his manager (and translator) Ed Soares. Silva will make his UFC debut at light heavyweight Saturday against James Irvin in the main event at UFC Fight Night 14. The biggest thing I took away from this interview is Silva's desire to make great fights happen, which may mean we’ll see more of him at light heavyweight. Silva's respect for fellow fighter Rich Franklin also comes through at one point in the interview.
I’ll have much more on the two big Saturday events -- UFC's and Affliction's "Banned" -- in the next few days but Silva is the hottest name in the sport right now and is widely regarded as the top fighter in the world, so I figured this Q&A should take precedence. I also spoke with Georges St. Pierre late last week and will post that Q&A sometime next week. Again, the responses below are from Silva, as translated by Soares.
MMA Stomping Grounds: Has the UFC approached you about any more fights at the light heavyweight level?
Ed Soares, translating for Anderson Silva: You know what, right now in his career, what’s going on is he’s the 185-pound champion and he’s got two to three years left in him to fight. What he wants to do is create fights the world wants to see and the fans want to see, so basically if it happens to be at 205, then we’ll fight at 205. If it happens at 185, then we’ll fight there too -- nothing's speculated and nothing's in front of us, but we’ll take the challenges as they come.
MMA Stomping Grounds: If you could pick anyone in the sport to fight, who would it be?
Soares (Silva): He said no one in particular. He trains to fight against the best so whoever the best is at that time, that’s who he’d like to fight.
MMA Stomping Grounds: How do you feel about James Irvin’s comments that he’s going to win Saturday?
Soares (Silva): [Silva] said that’s normal, anyone who has a mouth can say what they want.
MMA Stomping Grounds: What challenges will there be fighting at a weight class different from your last few fights?
Soares (Silva): Maybe a little bit of strength.
MMA Stomping Grounds: When the UFC asked you to move up to 205 for this fight, did you hesitate at all?
Soares (Silva): Not at all, not at all. As a fighter there was no hesitation, more hesitation by his coaching staff and sparring partners but when they presented the challenge he stepped right up without hesitation to take the fight. He wants to test himself in every fight and he feels moving up right now is the best fight he can have.
MMA Stomping Grounds: How important is the title of the top pound-for-pound fighter in the world to you?
Soares (Silva): He doesn’t feel he’s the No. 1 pound for pound. He feels he won’t be able to say that until he’s retired. While he’s fighting, it’s hard for him to say he’s the best pound for pound.
MMA Stomping Grounds: Who does he think is the top pound-for-pound fighter?
Soares (Silva): He doesn’t feel there is a perfect fighter. He doesn’t know who it would be.
MMA Stomping Grounds: UFC president Dana White claimed you came to him and asked to fight more, is this accurate?
Soares (Silva): Yeah.
MMA Stomping Grounds: How often would you like to fight?
Soares (Silva): He’d like to fight as often as his body will allow him.
MMA Stomping Grounds: What has been the toughest fight in your career?
Soares (Silva): His first Muay Thai fight in his career, the first of his career.
MMA Stomping Grounds: Who has been your toughest opponent in the UFC?
Soares (Silva): Rich Franklin. His game is what he felt the toughest to train for. His striking game was probably the most complex in the UFC.
MMA Stomping Grounds: If you could change anything in the sport, what would it be?
Soares (Silva): A few of the rules. He thinks there should be more rounds.
MMA Stomping Grounds: How did you feel after the UFC wouldn’t let you box Roy Jones Jr.?
Soares (Silva): He said he understands their point of view but it’s something on his mind that at one point in his life he would like to do.
MMA Stomping Grounds: Why do you want to box Jones?
Soares (Silva): He likes to challenge himself and there’s no one better to challenge himself in boxing than Roy Jones Jr.
MMA Stomping Grounds: Were you frustrated when the UFC wouldn’t allow it at this time?
Soares (Silva): No, no. He said he wasn’t frustrated. He was a little bummed because he wants this fight to happen but understands their point of view and hopes it happens someday.
MMA Stomping Grounds: How do you think you would do boxing against Jones?
Soares (Silva): He thinks it would be a great fight.
MMA Stomping Grounds: What is one thing most people don’t know about you that you want them to know?
Soares (Silva): You stumped him with this one ... hold on. You know what, he doesn’t think there’s really anything the world doesn’t know about him yet. Everything the world needs to know or wants to know about him, he thinks they know.
MMA Stomping Grounds: What’s your favorite thing to do away from fighting?
Soares (Silva): Play video games and hang out with his family and kids.
MMA Stomping Grounds: What’s your favorite video game?
Soares (Silva): Soccer.
MMA Stomping Grounds: What do you like the most about the UFC?
Soares (Silva): He likes the way he’s treated here.
MMA Stomping Grounds: What excites you the most about the growth of the UFC?
Soares (Silva): He said he’s excited he’s able to demonstrate his technique inside the Octagon and he’s happy the people here in the U.S. are happy to watch him fight. And, he’s excited about going in and making history in fights. ...
MMA Stomping Grounds: How many fights are left on your contract?
Soares (Silva): Six fights.
MMA Stomping Grounds: Are you going to try to organize the boxing match with Jones at the end of that or sign another UFC deal?
Soares (Silva): We take it one fight at a time.
MMA Stomping Grounds: Finally, what’s the game plan for Saturday’s fight with Irvin?
Soares (Silva): He says he’s going to go in there and do his game. He’s prepared to take the fight wherever it goes and just try to capitalize on Irvin’s errors.
Check out photos of UFC Fight Night 14 fighters.
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