Anderson Silva at UFC 126

Anderson Silva

Anderson Silva is good at what he does. Throughout his five years with the UFC, the current middleweight champion has decimated, knocked out, submitted, and even danced around his opponents on his way to several wins.

Some have vilified him, stating that he’s disrespected the fight game by refusing to finish his opponents. Others have praised him, citing that he’s the example of a frustrated genius, looking for an opponent who can stand with him on the same level.

His attitude, while accepted by many and dismissed by others, has been outweighed by Silva’s undeniable ability to outpoint his opposition and be recognized as one of the current pound-for-pound best and, arguably, greatest ever.

While sitting on his 185-pound throne, Silva takes a glimpse at the number of contenders who currently await a chance to test the Brazilian mixed martial artist, curiously wondering if, maybe, the next contender will be the one to take him down. There’s a long line of heirs to the middleweight throne, but the one currently at the top of the list is someone Silva has faced before.

That person is Yushin Okami. Could he be the one to finally defeat Silva in the UFC? If you ask Anderson, maybe he is.

“I train for the best guys in the world, the best fighters in the world,” Silva said recently. “I think they’re the best teams. I’m ready; I’m very excited for this fight. I don’t know, Okami is a good fighter, but a fight is a fight. Maybe I’ll win, maybe Okami win. I don’t know, but I promise I go for the fight, and work hard in the fight.”

Silva and Okami met each other once before, just prior to Anderson’s debut in the UFC in 2006. The match-up was short and uneventful with one exception: the illegal upkick that cost Silva the fight.

As Silva was laying on his back, Okami was on his knees attempting strikes from within his opponent’s guard. While there, Silva shoved his heel into Okami’s grill at a high velocity, knocking out the Japanese fighter and rendering him unable to fight. Silva was disqualified and Okami won the match-up on paper.

Doing a quick Google search on Silva will reveal this as his last loss, but it wasn’t the last time he was beaten by someone – that honor belongs to Ryo Chonan and his flying heel hook, which is still one of the sport’s best submissions pulled off to date.

Since their first meeting, Silva says he’s gained experience points, which is tough news for any opponent of his. By now, he’s learned that kicking an opponent in the head while their knees are on the canvas is a quick way of getting a loss. Combine that with more technique and conditioning, and you have yourself a tough rematch if you’re Yushin Okami.

“The first fight me and Okami, we didn’t have the big (experience) for a fight in the cage,” Silva said. “But this time, I have experience, I have technique, I have (conditioning).”

What makes the match-up even more tough for Okami is the the home field advantage factor.

For the first time since signing with the UFC, Anderson Silva is fighting close to home. With UFC 134 in Rio de Janeiro, all of the surroundings will be a lot more familiar than they have been in the past for “Spider.”

In fact, it’ll be the first time in eight years that Silva has fought professionally in Brazil. It’s an exciting experience for the champion, especially since he’s the headliner and will be watched by millions of people in the main event on Aug. 27.

MMA has been one of the country’s biggest attractions and Silva is glad that he’s finally apart of the experience in the homeland.

“It’s been big for a long time,” Silva said about MMA in Brazil. “This time I’m in Brazil with all the (guys) watching me and the guys (on my team) are an inspiration. I’m happy that the UFC is coming to Rio. All the fights are great, the fighters are here to fight, which is great for me. It’s a great opportunity. It’s a new opportunity for new fighters. I’m happy.”

According to Silva, all the fighters in Brazil are tough. This, apparently, motivates the middleweight champ to perform even better. When asked about the fight, Silva explains his excitement and happiness like someone who is getting their first taste of the beauty that is mixed martial arts.

“In Brazil all the people are tough,” he said. “They’re very excited. The people talk to me, ‘Hey, Anderson, (I’m going to) your fight. Hey, you ready?’ Yes, I’m ready. I’m happy. I’m very, very excited. The people in Brazil are very excited.”

Follow @Erik_Fontanez on Twitter or e-mail Erik Fontanez.
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