After five long years without visiting to Brazil, Thiago Silva finally has an appointment to return to his homeland.
On June 8, Silva will face former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante at UFC on Fuel TV 10 “Nogueira vs. Werdum” in Fortaleza, Ceara. In a recent interview with Sherdog.com, Silva welcomed the opportunity to fight at home, but admitted he might have chosen a different opponent.
“The choice of location was excellent,” said the 30-year-old. “It’s very cool to fight in Brazil again. I haven’t visited for five years and haven’t fought there for seven. As for the opponent, since the fight is in Brazil, I would prefer an American, but work is work. I’ll give my best. Rafael is tough and it’s going to be a great show. It’ll be a brawl.”
With both 205-pounders known for their striking -- Silva and Cavalcante have a combined 21 stoppages in 25 wins -- Silva said the fight could be a slugfest.
“I know Rafael personally. He’s a tough fighter, a striker, like me, and we both have heavy hands. I don’t know if I’ll knock him out or submit him, but I want to win. It will be a war,” Silva enthused.
Silva and Cavalcante both hail from the state of Sao Paulo, so Paulo Sarasate Gymnasium in Fortaleza will be a “neutral ground.” However, Silva believes that the Brazilian crowd will expect action in the fight and will root for whoever is more aggressive.
“When I heard from my manager [Glenn Robinson], that the fight would be against Feijao in Fortaleza, I knew it would be a neutral venue, but it will be nice to hear the crowd. I’ve traveled the world and there’s nothing similar to the Brazilian fans,” Silva said. “I get a shiver just thinking about it.”
Even after twice being suspended for doping, and without a win since 2009, when he knocked out Keith Jardine, Silva does not feel that his job with the UFC is on the line.
“Actually, I don’t feel threatened,” said Silva. “I haven’t won in four fights, but the UFC treats me very well, despite the doping. I work very hard and put on a show, because nobody wants to see a lukewarm fight. I’ll avoid making mistakes and will look for the win, as always.”
Silva also praised his team, Florida’s Blackzilians camp, where he works alongside the likes of Vitor Belfort, Alistair Overeem and Rashad Evans.
“It’s a team of stars, but without stardom,” Silva laughed. “Inside the ring, we’re all common people, from the least famous to the most famous. There’s no special treatment. I spar with Overeem, Belfort, Tyrone Spong, Rashad, Anthony Johnson, not to mention the coaches. I have great resources available and I’m enjoying it.”