Former UFC middleweight champ Anderson Silva says it’s safe to say the champion is back. It’s probably also safe to say he’s returning with a bit more humility.
A relaxed and jovial Silva (33-6 MMA, 16-2 UFC) faced the Brazilian media today to answer questions about his upcoming January return against Nick Diaz (26-9 MMA, 7-6 UFC) and reported his comeback is on track nearly a year after a grisly broken leg suffered in a rematch with champ Chris Weidman at UFC 168.
“I believe on fight night, I will be 100 percent,” Silva said at today’s gathering in Rio de Janeiro.
Silva said he’s currently working on exercises to strengthen his leg, but he’s throwing the same kicks that brought a halt to his career and threatened retirement after a celebrated career.
The 39-year-old ex-champ joked, “When in doubt, I’ll kick from the hip up. That way, I won’t have any problems.”
Silva, who headlines UFC 183 opposite Diaz on Jan. 31 in Las Vegas, said he plans to give the UFC the seven fights he owes on his current contract, but added he is in no rush to fight for the title, preferring to give teammate Ronaldo Souza the opportunity.
“He’s been working hard for that to happen, so I’m not pretending to fight for the belt,” Silva said. “I think I need to qualify myself for the belt again. Nothing more fair than to let ‘Jacare’ do it.”
The “Spider” appeared alongside his coaches, UFC Brazil head Grace Tourinho and his doctor and personal friend, Marcio Tannure, who also acts as the medical director of the UFC-backed Brazilian MMA Athletic Commission.
Tannure said Silva has been “above average” in recovering from the injury and said the fighter “surprised all of us” in the speed at which he was able to return to training.
Strength and conditioning coach Rogerio Camoes said Silva is “very motivated, and this motivation makes our training evolve every day. In each training, his leg is better. It’s responding very well. Certainly we’ll get back to our goal, which is to come back 100 percent.”