Antonio Silva was fighting on what most considered to be the toughest side of the Strikeforce World Heavyweight Grand Prix bracket, having faced and defeated Fedor Emelianenko in the opening round to earn a shot against former Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem.
With Overeem having defected to the UFC though, Silva will now be facing tournament alternate Daniel Cormier, which he today admitted to MMAWeekly was an initially disappointing prospect.
“In the beginning I was disappointed, I was sad that I wasn’t gonna fight him in the tournament, but now I understand and if I was him I would’ve done the same thing,” he leveled.
“Yes, certainly,” Silva continued, when asked if the tournament had lost luster as a result of Overeem’s absence. “But I love what I do, I love to fight and I will give it my best as always, but it did really lose a lot of its luster.”
Going from facing a K-1 level striker to an Olympic caliber wrestler required a pretty drastic revamping of his fight strategy and training methods, but Silva explained that he feels he’s made the adjustment well and is feeling ready to face Cormier this Saturday.
“It really changed a lot, because my strategy with Overeem was to impose my game, put him down and stay on top of him and it changes a lot with Cormier,” Silva said of his strategy. “The whole style changes. But, I’ve trained a lot of jiu-jitsu. I’m gonna fight in the ADCC in September, so my jiu-jitsu is really on top and I feel really good.”
Silva will meet Cormier on the same night that Josh Barnett and Sergei Kharitonov square off on the other side of the bracket, this Saturday night at the US Bank Arena in Cincinnati, Ohio.