With a dangerous fight looming in just a few days against Rich Franklin at UFC 99, it seems that Wanderlei Silva has a lot at stake. With 42 fights under his belt and a record that spans all the way back to the bare-knuckle vale tudo days of 1996, “The Axe Murderer” is not getting any younger. And, as with the recent stories focusing on UFC President Dana White’s insistence on the retirement of good friend and once Silva conqueror Chuck Liddell, the logical conclusion would be that the time is near for Wanderlei as well. Except nobody has told the 33-year-old Silva that.
In a recent interview with MMAConvert, Wanderlei reflects on his career and Dana White potentially calling for his retirement.
“A few years ago I was at the end of the line [of fighters to retire.] Now I am at the front of the line. But I respect the boss. Dana is a smart guy and I respect him. One day I will talk with him about this. He is a man who is the best at his job. If he comes to me and says to stop, I will respect this. But after my next fight, you’ll see, he will say, ‘Please don’t stop.”
With a nickname like “The Axe Murderer”, and a penchant for having violent fights win-or-lose, Wanderlei remains a fan favorite worldwide. Everyone likes to see him fight. With an impending move down to the middleweight class and the fight against Franklin happening at a catch-weight of 195 pounds, there are many opportunities abound moving forward for Silva whether he wins or loses. Last night’s debut airing of the UFC 99 Countdown seems to echo that remark. On that show, Wanderlei commented on a potential mega-fight with former training partner and division lynchpin at 185, Anderson Silva. “A lot of guys who fight Silva, they run, they do not hit him. I go to punch him in the face,” says Wanderei. Statements like this and maintaining his power at middleweight could do a lot for lengthening the Axe Murder’s career.
But first, Wanderlei has to get past Rich Frankin this Saturday at UFC 99, which is not an easy task for any man. For his efforts, Franklin has been training with Anderson Silva, who he says offered to give the Cincinnati-native all the tools he needs to beat Wanderlei. Speaking of this, Wanderlei does not feel that Anderson can give Franklin enough to change his style or beat him. It will be a challenge nonetheless. Win or lose though, Silva vows to keep coming forward.
“It’s impossible to say. Sometimes when you lose, some guys, they speak too much from emotion. My fighters here, sometimes they lose and after this they feel like to quit. But I tell them, there is nothing to do but go on to the next one. This is life. It never stops. Life is like a bicycle: if you stop, you are down. Never stop.”
Words to live by for the most violent man ever to compete in MMA.