Last time we saw Silva it was after he suffered a gruesomely broken left leg throwing a kick in a loss to Chris Weidman at UFC 168 this past December. At his age many thought that would be the last we’d see of ‘The Spider’. People didn’t think he would heal quickly or that he’d decide to retire after such a devastating injury and having nothing left to prove in the sport. Silva had other plans.
“Retirement never went through my mind,” Silva said through translator Jorge Guimares during a conference call on Friday. “What’s happening right now is I’m just dying to return to the Octagon and do the thing I most love in my life.”
Silva said there are no limitations on his training and that his leg is “95 percent and improving”. He expects to be 100 percent by fight night. He says there was is no apprehension to throw a kick in training, and their won’t be any when he meets Diaz.
“I’m not kicking as hard as I usually do [in training],” Silva said. “But I’m going to wait to kick hard on the day of the fight.”
The middleweight division seems a different place now that Silva is no longer the top dog. After losing to Weidman twice he relinquished his place to ‘The All- American’. That sport was truly established when Weidman defeated Lyoto Machida earlier n the year. But Silva has been monitoring the division and he’s impressed with the number of contenders that have emerged.
“Of course I’ve been following all the fights. Chris Weidman is a great champion. The guy is for real,” Silva said. “But there is no doubt it’s a stacked weight class now with [Ronaldo Souza], Luke Rockhold — [and] Vitor Belfort is for sure a great contender. The [division] is only getting better.”
Silva is fast approaching his 40th birthday and still has eight fights on his UFC deal. There’s no guarantee Silva will fulfil those fights before he eventually calls it a day, but what about getting back into title contention? Silva doesn’t rule it out.
“Obviously right now it’s not my priority, but it’s not out of the question to fight for the title,” he said. “If I have the credentials to fight for the title, I’ll be more than glad to do it. I’m going to see how I perform [at UFC 183]. That’s my main priority now.”
Both Silva and Diaz will enter their super-fight on a two-fight losing streak. That being said though the fans and fighters alike are expecting a great fight between the often labeled Greatest Of All Time, Silva, and a man who never backs down in Diaz. Though he can’t speak for Nick, Silva say he plans on delivering a great fight.
“This fight has all the ingredients to be one of the best fights of all time,” he said.
Which returning fighter will take the win?
Can Silva return with the same dominance he once showed in his prime?
Or will Diaz be able to conquer his biggest test yet, moving up a weight class against the greatest middleweight we’ve seen in the UFC?