It’s been a rough three-year stretch for Wanderlei Silva, as the former Pride champion has failed to achieve the same level of success he experienced in Japan here in the United States with the UFC.
Still, that doesn’t mean “The Axe Murderer” is planning on fading into retirement without trying to mount one final run at UFC gold.
Silva is set to face Cung Le in the co-main event of UFC 139 in San Jose, California on November 29. Silva is replacing an injured Vitor Belfort, who was forced out of the fight.
“I was just chilling at home when I got a text asking if I wanted to fight at UFC 139,” Silva said. “I was planning on fighting again this year, but didn’t think it would be so fast. I wasn’t sure right away, but I was already conditioned from before. So I just got back into training.”
Silva was dropped by Chris Leben at UFC 132 by knockout in just 27 seconds. Prior to that, he stopped a two-fight losing streak to Rich Franklin and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson by defeating Michael Bisping.
“I was very sad after my last fight with the result,” Silva said. “But this fight cheered me up and I want to give a great performance for my fans.”
Pleasing the MMA crowds has always been a priority for Silva, as he enjoys taking on fellow heavy punchers and standing toe-to-toe with them. Of Silva’s 33 professional wins, 23 of them have come via knockout. And, while Le is expected to be quite the fan favorite as he trains in San Jose, Silva knows he will also be cheered because of his strong following.
“I will be facing a good opponent in the co-main event,” Silva said. “He will be at his home, but I know I also have a lot of fans in San Jose. You guys are the reason why I keep trying. We have to keep trying.
“Some time I will get back to winning. Soon, I will meet victory again and that will be a great, joyful moment.”
Silva once went almost four years without a loss, compiling a record of 16-0-1 with one no contest from August of 2000 until the end of 2004.
UFC 139 features a main event of Dan Henderson meeting Mauricio “Shogun” Rua. Urijah Faber and Brian Bowles are also slated to meet in a bantamweight showdown.