UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva prepares to defend his title for the sixth time when he faces Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu ace Demian Maia at UFC 112: Invincible this Saturday. It is Silva’s first title defense since defeating Thales Leites via unanimous decision in a lackluster five-round affair at UFC 97: Redemption nearly a year ago, and his first time fighting in the Octagon since destroying Forrest Griffin at UFC 101 last August.
“I missed the contact, the training, doing what I like to do,” Silva told UFC.com. “I had time to take care of myself and also do something I love doing, which is to teach and coach the younger guys.”
Silva was originally slated to defend his title against Vitor Belfort at UFC 108 on January 2, 2010, however had to bow out due to not being fully recovered from elbow surgery. The bout was rescheduled for UFC 109 on February 6, 2010, however was moved because Silva’s recovery wasn’t “going as planned.” The bout was scheduled for a third time for this Saturday at UFC 112, but was once again canceled, this time due to an injury suffered by Belfort.
“My team and I had been working hard and were prepared to face Vitor,” said Silva. “But like I always say, I train to fight the best, so I feel prepared physically and mentally to face the toughest opponents in the UFC.”
Demian Maia, who is coming off of a victory over Dan Miller at UFC 109, was chosen to fill Belfort’s spot. Maia had been undefeated in his career until he suffered a first round knockout loss to Nate Marquardt last August. Like Leites before him, Maia’s best chance to win the bout would be to take the fight to the ground, where Maia would be able to utilize his world-class Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Silva notes that he is preparing for the ground, although he plans to keep the fight standing up.
“Demian is a tough fighter and everybody knows about his skills on the ground,” said Silva. “We can’t say that he will easily get me on the ground or that I will easily get him on our feet.
“We have created a strategy for this fight, and thankfully I have guys like Andre Galvao, the Nogueira brothers, Ramon Lemos and Rafael Feijao training with me,” he continued. “I train my ground game everyday in practice, so I feel that if the fight goes to the ground I will be prepared, but my focus is always my stand up game which is my flagship.”
Silva already holds the longest active winning streak in the UFC and the record for the longest winning streak in UFC history. If he is able to get past Maia this Saturday, he will hold the record for the most consecutive title defenses in the UFC and will only be one successful defense from tying Matt Hughes for the most successful title defenses in UFC history.
“I want to fight the best and set more records in the UFC,” Silva noted.
UFC 112: Invincible takes place on April 10, 2010 from Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. As always, FightLine.com will have live coverage of the event, as well as streams of the post-fight press conference.