Posted 09/28/2013 by Jesse Scheckner in UFC
 
 

The UFC 168 Tour Stops in Miami – Anderson Silva Edition

Though he's been at it for a long time now, Anderson Silva seems to still find joy in what he does.

Though he’s been at it for a long time now, Anderson Silva seems to still find joy in what he does.

(Video below.)

The UFC’s fifth and last U.S. stop on their seven-day whirlwind tour to promote UFC 168: Weidman vs. Silva 2 occurred on a bright and sunny Friday in downtown Miami. Fans and media alike gathered in the Klipsch Amphitheater at Bayfront Park at 1 p.m. on September 27th for the scheduled visit, and it wasn’t long before UFC president Dana White came out on stage for a brief interview with 99 Jamz, who had a booth set up on stage. Soon after, the former middleweight champion and arguable G.O.A.T., Anderson “The Spider” Silva, took the stage and grappled with a training partner, at first with a gi on and later, without.

Anderson Silva, in front of an adoring crowd, attempts to pass his opponent's guard into side control.

“The Spider,” in front of an adoring crowd, attempts to pass his opponent’s guard into side control.

Silva was his usual jovial and playful self, and he appeared pleased with the amount of Brazilian fans that came to show their support. Though the event was criminally under-attended, those who did make it out had the privilege of interacting with two of the top mixed martial artists in the world, at no cost and with barely a barrier between them. Following Silva’s jiu jitsu workout, he graciously signed autographs for the fans, enduring projectile sparring equipment thrown up on the stage for him to inscribe. After a brief stop off to the side to speak with White, Silva and his manager/translator Ed Soares granted the local press time to ask questions of the usurped champ seeking redemption. As he spoke to the press, current middleweight champ Chris Weidman – the man who knocked Silva out for the first time his career, taking his belt in the process – went out on stage to a mixture of boos and applause. Anderson hardly seemed to notice.

Silva establishing wrist control en route to what ends up being an unsuccessful triangle choke.

Silva establishing wrist control en route to what ends up being an unsuccessful triangle choke.

Questions asked of Silva ranged from the obligatory Steven Seagal inquiries (“Steven Seagal is my friend, not my teacher,” he said in a rare flash of frustration) and throwaways such as, “Are you happy to get back to Brazil?” (His answer: “Yes.”) and “Is this the best version of Anderson Silva we’re going to see?” (“Maybe.”), to those borne of poor research like, “Do you plan on retiring after the fight, win or lose?” (Silva has 9 more fights left on his contract including the Weidman bout, meaning he’s not retiring any time soon).

There are undeniable differences between gi and no-gi grappling, and any mixed martial artist worth his or her salt knows it is crucial to train both.

There are undeniable differences between gi and no-gi grappling, and any mixed martial artist worth his or her salt knows it is crucial to train both.

His poise in responding to even the most inane queries – such as, “you talked about making an error in your previous fight, are you working on fixing that error for your future fights?” (His mercifully short answer: “Yes.”) – just further serve to illustrate what a class act he is (and how catty this author can be, evidently). Win or lose come December, there is no denying this man’s greatness both in and out of the cage.

Here are a few highlights from the press scrum:

Q: How do you feel about being called the Muhammad Ali of MMA?
Silva (Through Soares): It’s very hard to compare Muhammad Ali and myself. I feel Muhammad Ali should be up here, and I’m way down here. It’s almost like comparing – Muhammad Ali is one of my biggest inspirations – and comparing us is like comparing Neymar and Ronaldo.

Your unbeaten streak and your title defense streak are unequaled in the UFC. Much like Joe DiMaggio and Roger Maris’ long-standing records, how long do you think it’s going to take until someone beats those records, if they ever do? Who’s active that you think could do it?
Legends come and go. Nothing that I’ve accomplished in mixed martial arts was anything that I focused on doing. I did everything – all the records I broke, all that – the most important thing was that I did it with love and I did it with dedication, and doing something I loved. So all those things didn’t really go through my mind.

You’ve said there’s a “New Anderson” coming to fight at UFC 168, but at the same time you’ve also said that your style is your style and you’re not changing anything. How do you reconcile those two statements?
My mind is going to change.

Vitor and Chael have said before that they want to fight you again. Is that a fight we may see in the future?
Both of those guys have been my customers already, so I’m right behind the champ and they’re much farther behind me.

You have nine fights on your contract left including this one. IF this fight doesn’t wind up going your way, do you have any plans on pursuing those superfights in higher or lower weight classes?
After this fight, win or lose, my goal and my dream is to fight Roy Jones Jr., and that’s what I want to do.

  UFC 168: Weidman vs. Silva 2 takes place Saturday, December 28 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Chris Weidman will be making his first middleweight title defense against former champion Anderson “The Spider” Silva, whom he defeated at UFC 162. Weidman is undefeated in his career at 10-0. Anderson Silva had, until then, successfully defended his title a record 10 times over 8 years before Weidman defeated him, ending arguably the greatest run in MMA history. Also on the card is the rematch between current The Ultimate Fightercoaches “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey and Meisha Tate and a heavyweight bout between former UFC heavyweight champion Josh Barnett  and #5-ranked contender Travis Browne. Tickets went on sale on Friday, September 27 through Ticketmaster.

(All photos and videos were taken by – and are the property of – MMAOwl.com)


Jesse Scheckner

 
A freelance MMA, entertainment and business journo born, raised and residing in Miami, FL, Jesse Scheckner is a former semi-serious musician, cinephile and recovering ne’er-do-well committed to nonfiction storytelling. He is the 2014 Florida MMA Awards "Best MMA Media Correspondent" winner and a two-time Miami New Times "Best Of" winner. Follow him on Twitter @JesseScheckner to talk about the stuff he writes about with him.