UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson “The Spider” Silva is sitting on the cusp of his record-setting seventh title defense, which will come against Chael Sonnen this Saturday night in Oakland, California. Sonnen has perhaps been the most vocal opponent Silva will ever face as he has been openly berating Silva and his entourage since before their fight was even announced. Silva recently spoke with Sherdog.com’s Marcelo Alonso to offer his thoughts on Sonnen’s pre-fight trash talk and also touched on the topic of his retirement and of fighting at 205 pounds.
“He can say whatever he wants,” Silva said of Sonnen. “I’ll do my job, and then I’ll go back to my house and my family. I’m missing my children so much. There’s not much to talk about. He says what he wants. I think each one promotes the fight in his own way. That’s part of the game. He promotes the fight the way he chooses. I keep quiet and go out there and do my job. After we enter the ring, there will just be me and him. He can win or lose, as I can, too.”
Holding the belt at 185 pounds, Silva has made two forays into the UFC’s light heavyweight division (against James Irvin and Forrest Griffin, respectively) with spectacular results. Many have speculated that Silva will be making a return to the light heavyweight division soon and could even be close to challenging Mauricio “Shogun” Rua for his title, but “The Spider” is not so keen on that idea.
“We must be prepared to face any eventuality and any new challenge, but I think going up to fight for the title at 205 pounds is very unlikely at the moment,” Silva said. “‘Shogun’ is the champion. We’ve trained together and been on the same team. I find it hard to believe it will happen, but I’m speaking for myself. The group to which I belong also has Lyoto [Machida] and [Antonio] Rogerio Nogueira in that category, so it’s not interesting. Even if I had the extra weight, I have no desire to fight at 205. If there were other opportunities in that class, I’d fight, but I have no desire for the belt.”
Silva would go on to soften his stance, though, saying, “Maybe one day, but not now. Today, I’m focused on my goal, which is keeping my belt and reaching our team goals. I want to keep my belt for years to come and, perhaps, until the end of my career.”
Silva has made statements in the past which indicated that he may be retiring sooner rather than later, but he recently renewed his UFC contract and has since made comments to the effect that he desires to fight for years to come. Silva explained that he has been under pressure from friends, family and even his manager, Ed Soares, to retire while he is on the top but that after having a conversation with his good friend and training partner Antonio Rodrigo “Minotauro” Nogueira, he has no desire to retire anytime soon.
“I’ve been thinking about this recently, but I talked with [Antonio] Rodrigo Nogueira and he advised me to keep fighting,” Silva said. “There was a time when many people pestered me to stop. My children, my friends, Ed [Soares], among others. The truth is people want me to stop, but I’ll stop a lot of people before anyone stops me.”
Silva will have the opportunity this Saturday to break his own record of most consecutive UFC title defenses when he takes on hard-nosed Chael Sonnen in the main event of UFC 117. The fight will take place at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, California.