With Open-Weight GP Looming, Silva Talks Tourney
Getting ready for one of the biggest challenges of his career — the
PRIDE Open-Weight Grand Prix — Wanderlei Silva (Pictures) spoke exclusively to
Knowing that the July 1 card will require his best effort, Silva
talks about facing Kazuyuki
Fujita (Pictures) and his preparation for the
fight. He also discusses Antonio Rodrigo
Nogueira (Pictures), Royce Gracie (Pictures) and Fedor Emelianenko
Sherdog.com: What do you think about facing Kazuyuki Fujita (Pictures) in this Grand Prix?
(Pictures): I think the promoters have
taken a good choice. He is a tough guy, strong and well rounded. I
am training really hard for this match because I know this will be
a hard fight. He holds hard shots, has heavy hands and I must be
careful and be in perfect condition.
Sherdog.com: The promoters want so much to see a Japanese
fighter defeat you — that’s the reason why you’ve faced so many
Japanese fighters in your career. Do you think Fujita is the best
Silva: He is the biggest one — that I can say (laughs) because he
is about 265 pounds. He is not a fat guy, he’s a strong guy, so he
is the heaviest one! And, just like you said, they are crazy to see
a Japanese guy beat me so I think that is the reason they gave me
that fight, cause I’ve beaten Hidehiko Yoshida (Pictures) twice before. So, I think that
was a good choice of them.
Sherdog.com: How’s your preparation for this fight?
Silva: Really hard. I think I am training more than ever for this
fight. My personal trainer, Rafael Alejarra, is giving me a lot of
work; he is doing a real good job, well done. He is developing a
training method that’s been shocking me — it’s totally focused on
fighting abilities. He creates amazing exercises. I’m getting used
to my new weight. I’m weighing 216 pounds and I must cut two pounds
until the day of the fight. I’m training a lot of jiu-jitsu, a lot
wrestling and Muay Thai with my teammates.
Sherdog.com: How’s your preparation going in order to face a guy
who’s heavier than you?
Silva: I think I have to be careful in the opening round because he
is totally gassed up and I can’t take a shot in the beginning
because this will be the end for me. In my opinion, the advantage
to fighting against a bigger guy is it’s easier to hit him; he is
not as agile as a man in my weight class. I told Alejarra: “You
must make me a heavy hitter cause this guy has an iron chin.” I
will test my punch against him.
Sherdog.com: This Open-Weight Grand Prix has the toughest guys
on earth, am I right?
Silva: That’s true. It’s just like the Coliseum in the Roman Empire
when they had to kill a lion. Then they say, ”You can kill a lion,
but you can’t kill a lion and a tiger.” And if you do this, they
say, “OK, but you can’t kill two lions.” So, let us see. I think
this will be a big challenge to me in my career. I know my
responsibilities. In the backstage there’s a TV screen and
everybody sits around it to watch my fights, so I have to make an
amazing fight. Everybody expects me in a great performance, and I
promise I will do this. I’m working hard to please my fans and get
the win. I think fighters have value based on their performances,
so if the guy fights bad he is in trouble.
Sherdog.com: You said already you would like to fight
“Minotauro.” It’s coming closer to happening.
Silva: If both he and I win our respective matches he will be my
next challenge. Imagine that I’m winning and taking “Minotauro” for
the next. If I win I’ll face Mark Hunt (Pictures)! It’s gonna rock, man! But a
fighter’s life that’s it, and I’m glad to do this. I respect
“Minotauro” a lot. He deserves respect and wonder of everybody. It
will be an honor for me to fight him. He has a great name in Japan
and I’m sure, if this fight happens, it will make history. This
will be a boundary mark for us.
Sherdog.com: Besides the money, what else is motivating you to
get into this tournament?
Silva: Every time I’m traveling I’m in touch with the fans. I was
in Porto Alegre (a Brazilian City) last weekend and a lot of people
came to me and gave me a positive response. I think it’s what they
want, everyone is tired of legends. Nowadays we have to be real
fighters that step in the ring and fight. Results don’t matter.
That’s a lot of people defaming Royce Gracie (Pictures), but fuck off — he had the balls.
Hughes is a current champion, a top fighter, and despite this Royce
fought him. After this I became a bigger Royce fan. He doesn’t live
like a legend. He does his job. He is a honorable man, a guy to be
admired. So I think this is what my fans wants from me; they wanna
see me facing bigger and better fighters. Is this hard? I say this
is the hardest. Today, for example, I’m in pain all over my body.
I’m tired, just came home, hard working. But that’s it. If someone
wants to have fans, have a name, he must fight for it.
Sherdog.com: Will you defend your title this year?
Silva: Maybe in December. But it will depend on my performance in
this Grand Prix. This tournament is a good thing for me. Everybody
is expecting a great show from me, for sure, but I’m maybe the
underdog because I will face bigger guys. So it is their
responsibility, not mine. I will be confident and I think I can
show my game. But I hope to defend my title because I’d like to
face guys in my weight class too.
Sherdog.com: Your number-one contender seems to be Antonio Rogerio
Silva: Yes, if he beats Shogun. “Minotoro” is a tough guy. I must
be prepared to face him. He is winning a lot, doing a great job,
and he is a good fighter.
Sherdog.com: Evangelista “Cyborg” will make his debut in PRIDE’s
next event. What you’re expecting from him?
Silva: “Cyborg” is training with Alejarra and is surprising us. He
has great determination. I have a private gym on my house and he
comes here everyday. He knows that’s the biggest chance of his
career and I always knew that he would fight in PRIDE. For him,
this opportunity is the best goal ever. I’m glad for him, he
deserves it. This will be the fourth or fifth fight in this year
and he deserves respect. He does his job.
Sherdog.com: The Grand Prix winner will probably face Fedor Emelianenko
(Pictures) in New Year’s Eve. You are
one of the contenders. What do you think about that?
Silva: It’s like I said once. Nobody wants to face Fedor, but if
this has to be, let it be. He is the man to be defeated. No one
could do a great job against him until today. Fujita hit him hard
but he was not knocked out. So I think he is the main man today. I
respect him but if I have to fight him I will. If someday I say I
don’t wanna fight a guy, no matter who he is, I will retire. This
will be the end of my career.
Sherdog.com: To finish this interview, leave a message to
everyone who accesses Sherdog.com.
Silva: I would like to say I’m glad to talk to the Americans. I
know I have fans on there. I hope to fight in the U.S. very soon
because PRIDE said they will promote an event in America and I’d
like to fight there. I was in Vegas to watch UFC and a lot of
people came to talk to me. That made me happy because everyone was
nice with me. I wish to thank everybody who is shopping in my Web
page. I’m doing a lot of sales to USA and the guys there are buying
a lot of my products. For those ones who want to be a fighter:
choose a good gym that can put you in the right way of fighting.
Work hard, because the beginning is difficult but works because the
events are popping out all over the planet bringing better
fighters. So, if you’re having hard times, work harder, because you
will be rewarded. If you are a hard worker, if you have a good
head, and a good team and the eye of the tiger, you will become a
professional fighter. God bless you all, a big hug to everybody and
I will see you soon.
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