Anderson Silva (left) file photo: Dave Mandel | Sherdog.com
Though the 23 minutes that preceded it were definitely not part of the plan, UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva said his fifth-round submission of Chael Sonnen at UFC 117 last Saturday in Oakland, Calif., was a very deliberate gesture.
“I was very upset when he spoke that bulls--t about the Nogueira brothers,” Silva told PVT editor and Sherdog.com reporter Marcelo Alonso on Monday. “He messed with the wrong people. I will kill and die for these two. I promised them that I would submit Sonnen in their honor. For me, it was a matter of honor and thank God everything went right."
In addition, Silva said he entered the Oracle Arena in his gi on Saturday as an homage to his “master” Antonio Rodrigo, who awarded Silva his jiu-jitsu black belt in 2006.
Silva reiterated that he’d injured his ribs days out from Saturday’s bout training with 2008 Olympic judo gold medalist Satoshi Ishii, who’d traveled from Japan to help him and Lyoto Machida prepare at the Black House gym outside of Los Angeles.
"The doctor told me not to fight, (my manager) Ed Soares, too,” said Silva. “The decision to fight was out of respect for my fans and the UFC.”
Silva said the injury affected his ability to defend the Olympic wrestling team alternate’s takedowns.
“I couldn’t persist with my defense, but thank God everything went right,” said Silva.
When asked about the effect the death of his grandmother had on him three weeks out from the fight, Silva declined to give any excuses.
"When my aunt died, she was like my mother,” said Silva. “I was away from home for three months due to a fight. Now the same situation repeated itself with my grandmother, who is gone and I couldn’t even say goodbye to her. Everything was like a snowball, but thank God I have a very strong mental focus. All my teachers have taught me why I should believe in myself and in a very difficult fight like this one, it makes a difference. At no time did I think I would lose."
As for his injury and any subsequent layoff that could follow, Silva said he’d need to seek the advice of his physician first before setting a timeline. On Monday, Silva’s jiu-jitsu coach Ramon Lemos told Tatame that Silva would likely be out of action until March 2011. Silva wouldn’t confirm or deny his trainer’s assessment.
"The doctor asked me to hold a little, but now I have to go back and he will specify how long it takes for me to recover,” said Silva. “I'll have to go to the doctor again (first).”
The 35-year-old champion did praise his instructor for coaching him through his crucial comeback moment.
"Ramon has been like a guru to me,” said Silva. “At the time of the triangle, he yelled for me to hold the arm, take control and that helped me into position.”
As for his next opponent and whether he’d prefer to face Vitor Belfort or rematch Sonnen again, Silva echoed the same sentiments he shared on Saturday night.
"My priority now is to return home to be with my family, take care of this injury and get back to 100 percent for whoever will be my next opponent -- Vitor or Sonnen,” said Silva. “It’s whatever the UFC decides.”
Silva said he drew extra motivation from knowing that millions of Brazilians were watching the championship bout live on Sport TV in his homeland.
"I knew I had millions of Brazilians live watching me and wanted to pass this message,” said Silva. “I think God used me to demonstrate to Brazilians that regardless of the difficulties, we must never give up and always have to believe no matter how difficult the situation may seem,” said Silva. "You once asked me how I’d like to be remembered. I would like to be remembered for overcoming and having the capacity to turn things around. I hope I can help people to believe that they can do more than they imagine.”