Despite the fact he’s from Brazil, Thiago Silva (14-3 MMA, 5-3 UFC) has never been to Fortaleza, where his next fight is set to take place against Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante (11-3 MMA, 0-0 UFC).
Silva isn’t happy that fighting in his home country means giving 27.5 percent of his income to Brazil’s government, as he told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).
“That’s one more motivation to win,” he said. “Because if I lose, at this rate, there’s not much left.”
But he is nonetheless looking forward to making the 13-hour trip from his current home in Florida to the beachside city. It’s a chance to redeem himself for headlines that have focused far more on what he’s done outside the cage than in it.
Post-fight suspensions for drug offenses twice have put Silva’s career on the rails. First, he was benched for providing a false urine sample in Las Vegas at UFC 125, and three years later, he was suspended for marijuana following his most recent fight at UFC on FUEL TV 6 in Macau.
Of course, he’s convinced the latter isn’t as big of a stain as the former.
“I obviously didn’t like seeing the no-contest on my record, but I know that I won against Nedkov; I took my money home,” Silva said. “So, to be sincere, what’s on my record doesn’t matter much. I won the fight. Everyone saw that. It wasn’t a decision. My victory was erased, but I won nonetheless. I don’t have to prove anything to anyone.”
Still, sunny Fortaleza isn’t just a pretty place, but one without memories.
“I’m happy,” Silva said. “That, and I get to slap ‘Feijao’ around. I can’t wait.”
While the genesis of Silva problems with Cavalcante are unclear, it’s clear that the two used to be friendlier than they are now, and that difference is measured in the way he speaks about the fight, which serves on the main-card of UFC on FUEL TV 10 on Saturday at Paulo Sarasate Arena. (Main-card fights air on FUEL TV following prelims on Facebook.)
Somewhere along the line, Silva believes Cavalcante got a little too big for his britches, and when you do that, you’ve crossed over to his bad side.
“I don’t respect other fighters’ reputations,” Silva said. “Someone can have a big name. I don’t respect that. I go in to fight. If he’s man enough, he’ll meet me in the middle, if not, he can run. Let’s see how he shows up, because he sure is talking a lot.”
It’s hard to tell exactly where Cavalcante is doing most of his talking, but wherever he is, Silva is listening.
To illustrate just how much the talk is rubbing him the wrong way, Silva uses another guy whom he didn’t like very much: Brandon Vera. When they met two years ago at UFC 125, before his commission woes began, Silva briefly broke character as a fighter to literally slap “The Truth” around – to semi-comedic effect.
On Saturday, he plans to do all that and more against “Feijao.”
“He thinks he’s a superstar now – I tried to be cool with him, to talk to him,” Silva said. “Now he’s acting like he doesn’t know me. He thinks he’s a Hollywood celebrity.
“When I rain down punches on his face, what is he going to do? I never disrespect anyone before a fight, but he’s talking too much. I want to see what he does when I slap him around like Vera.”
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