A fixture on most UK UFC events and an undefeated record in the UFC, you would expect more people in the UK to be talking about the London based Brazilain Claudio Silva.
Injury problems played a part with people taking notice of Silva, he spent three and a half years out.
Silva started on the regional scene in England before he broke through to the UFC.
“I started my career in London as I was living there,” Silva explains.
“I was trying to learn English and I also knew that if I was fighting in the UK then I could get into the UFC more easily. London has a massive impact in every area and that’s what I thought, (win all my fights) and it worked.
“It’s been 12 years, London is home right now, it feels like home. I call myself the Britzilian.”
Up until his last fight, Silva had only fought once outside the UK for the UFC. This was in his home country Brazil in 2014 against a British fighter Leon Edwards. Silva won a split decision then wouldn’t fight again until early 2018.
“Yeah, I have only had three fights outside of England. (The Edwards fight) was my first MMA fight in Brazil.” Silva said.
“I fought in my mum’s home town. It was great to beat him (Edwards). A victory is always a victory. I completely dominated him, took him down, took his back, ground and pound him. It was a great victory.
“Most champions don’t get to fight in their city and I had it. So it’s a great feeling, great experience, I will never forget about it.”
Having watched as Leon Edwards has got himself back into title contention, Silva had to contend himself getting back to fitness.
“After the Edwards fight I had surgery, I broke both my feet. I had three and a half years out. It was a tough time to see other fighters that I had beat up winning their fights and moving through the UFC.
“I’m not jealous just I feel bad because I knew if I never got injured then I could be top five right now.”
The time out means Silva now appreciates what he has.
“Nowadays I really appreciate it more. To stay where I am right now, to be a UFC fighter, so I appreciate it more. So the break taught me a lot of things.”
Having moved his training camp to American Top Team, Silva feels he is improving.
“I learnt a lot of things and wow, I improved so much,” Silva told MMA UK.
“I learn at ATT all the time, it’s like a seminar. Those guys have seven UFC belts, also One FC and PFL. They do some things different at ATT otherwise people wouldn’t be training there.
“I always knew that when I went to ATT that I would become a completely different fighter. I changed my mentality of training, now I’m more disciplined than ever.”
Silva competes in the stacked welterweight division. A couple of his ATT teammates are at the top end of that division, Jorge Masvidal and Colby Covington.
“I trained with Masvidal in March, he’s a great guy, nice guy,” Silva said.
“Colby always talks to me, he’s a great dude also. Well if I have to train with them, I train. If I have to fight them, I fight.
“Masvidal is a great guy, I don’t want to fight him but if I have to then I can’t do anything else, it’s my job. I’m a fighter. It is what it is. I’m quite comfortable with the situation. I visualise it in my mind already.”
At the age of 36, Silva still harbours aspirations of becoming a champion.
“I want to get the title, I know I could be champion if I didn’t get injured. What can I do, I’ve been stopped (so far) by injury. My results speak for themselves and I know I’m going to be champion someday.”