As he awaits the call for his
Ultimate Fighting Championship debut, former EliteXC
heavyweight champion Antonio
Silva has gone about the business of shoring up his weaknesses
Team Nogueira banner.
Silva (16-3) has not fought since being knocked out by the unbeaten
Cormier in the Strikeforce
heavyweight grand prix semifinals in September. The defeat halted a
three-fight winning streak for the 32-year-old Brazilian, which
included wins over Russian great Fedor
Emelianenko and former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei
“I’m doing very specific work in boxing and kickboxing to correct
my mistakes,” Silva told Sherdog.com. “To make a mistake is human,
but to remain in error is stupid. I fought two fighters from the
American Kickboxing Academy, and they knocked me down. Against
Kyle, I was able to recover and win the fight, but against
Cormier, I got knocked out for the first time in 20 fights.
“The people in my camp saw where the mistakes were, so now I’m
going to train, train and train some more to fix it,” he added.
“I’m also training jiu-jitsu in the gi, doing strength work and
following a good diet in order to lose weight and improve my
Silva, who underwent shoulder surgery in November following his
loss to Cormier, does not yet have a date or an opponent for his
first UFC bout, though he expects to hear from matchmakers soon.
Rumors of a potential matchup with onetime UFC heavyweight
Velasquez have cooled.
“Several things have been said, but nothing is 100 percent yet,”
Silva said. “As I always say, ‘Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.’
Two weeks after my surgery, I started training to get ready for
when the opportunity appears. I’m eager to fight again, and when
they put me inside that Octagon, I’ll always try to have good
Though he no longer flies the Strikeforce flag, Silva will watch
with personal interest when Cormier meets Josh Barnett
in the heavyweight grand prix final, likely in the first or second
quarter of 2012.
“I’ll root for Cormier, who’s a great guy, but I think it’s going
to be kind of hard for him to win,” Silva said. “Barnett is a more
complete fighter, with good boxing, wrestling and ground skills.
The only chance for Cormier is to land a big punch, like he did on
me, but I think it will be Barnett who wins.”
Silva admits a part of him was saddened when Zuffa LLC officials
elected to dissolve the Strikeforce heavyweight division and fold
it into the UFC.
“I’m sorry for that,” he said. “They could have left it as a
gateway for the weight class, but it would have sort of been a
second division to the premier league -- the UFC.”
Allan Oliveira contributed to this report.