Speaking to the media at his Los Angeles-based Muay Thai College, Anderson Silva reflected on next weekend’s UFC 168 rematch with Chris Weidman and how it affects his legacy.
“This is very important for me,” Silva said as reported by MMAFighting.com earlier this week. “For my family, my coach, for my legacy, this is very important.”
The 38-year-old former UFC middleweight champion held the title nearly seven years before Weidman knocked him out last summer. Many contribute the loss to Silva’s whimsical approach towards his opponents, which includes circling the ring in an uninterested manner and defending strikes with his hands dangling at thigh level.
“I watch the last fight,” Silva said. “And I see my technique and I talk to my friends and my coach and I don’t change too much. I train hard (on) my mental (game) because my mental was bad.”
Silva usually starts slowly by gauging his opponent’s timing and mannerisms. This technique earned the Brazilian 17 consecutive victories, one coming with United Kingdom-based Cage Rage. Silva’s legacy includes numerous records set and multiple Fighter of the Year awards.
“For 16 fights, Anderson was on the right end of the magic moment,” said Ed Soares, Silva’s manager. “In the last fight, Anderson was on the wrong end. Hat’s off to Chris [Weidman] for pulling it off. But I don’t know what we’ll see and the fans don’t and that’s why so many people are going to tune in.”
The importance of UFC 168’s main event is not lost outside of Silva and Weidman’s camps. With Georges St-Pierre on indefinite hiatus from professional fighting, the UFC looks to Silva’s star power to bring in a big buy rate. Silva will always have a place among MMA’s elite fighters, but the extent of his legacy hinges on the next fight.
“So the people, maybe in five or 10 years, the people say ‘my gosh, this guy changed the sport. For five years this guy fight for the best fight for the people.’ In Brazil, I have a program for kids and I see the kids, ‘oh my gosh, one day I go to fight because you changed my life.’ This is more important to me, to change kids’ lives, than to beat Chris Weidman.”
UFC 168 comes live from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, NV on Dec. 28.