Depending on who you ask around the sport of MMA, you are sure to receive differing opinions on Wanderlei Silva’s career.
In one corner, you have people like UFC President Dana White saying that Silva’s had enough, that he needs to hang it up and move on to the next chapter of his life.
But, in the corner of his own coach, Rafael Cordeiro of Kings MMA, you have someone that things “The Axe Murderer” can still get it done.
Silva was making his return to the cage after nearly 16 months off due to a knee injury. When he did finally meet up with Chris Leben at UFC 132, Leben connected in the form of a knockout victory in just 27 seconds.
“He was prepared for a war, but that punch really caught him and it defined the fight,” Cordeiro said. “It’s hard to talk about game plans after the fight, but now we have to move along and think about his next bout. He still has much to do.”
The final say on this subject is, ultimately, in the hands of Silva. Now, should White and the UFC part ways with him, the former Pride champion could sign with another organization.
“Nobody said it directly to Wanderlei, that he won’t fight anymore,” Cordeiro said. “Wanderlei is in Brazil now, he’ll return to the United States this week, and he’s coming to train here. He wants to fight again. He trained his whole life and suffered many injuries as any other athlete, but they’re all healed.”
Silva is 33-11-1 for his career, but just 1-3 in his last four bouts and 2-6 since the middle stages of 2006. During that time, he has been the victim of five KO defeats at the hands of Mirko CroCop, Dan Henderson, Quinton Jackson and now Leben.
Cordeiro feels that it was just a good blow that took Silva out of his match up with Leben, and not a clock signaling the end of an era.
“The lack of fighting rhythm was the biggest factor,” the trainer said. “Wanderlei, while in a sequence of fights, will recover that. Wanderlei was coming from a sequence of injuries, did his best on the trainings, he was doing fine, but it happened. There were two prepared athletes, and a hard punch got him hard. He went for it, it’s hard to analyze…there was no bout. Wanderlei believed that he could finish the fight and went for it.”