STOCKHOLM – Riding high from the biggest win of his career, British middleweight slugger Tom Watson (16-5 MMA, 1-1 UFC) is aiming even higher. A full month after calling out MMA legend Wanderlei Silva (35-12-1 MMA, 5-7 UFC), Watson remans adamant he would knock out the Brazilian if given the chance.
And while he’s come under fire from some fans who believe he’s being a bit disrespectful, Watson said he has no regrets.
“From my point of view, I go online and I say, ‘Wanderlei, you’re a legend. Please can I fight you?’ Nobody cares,” Watson said. “If I go in there and say, ‘Wanderlei, listen. Come to fight, and I’ll knock you out’ – which I will do, you know that – then maybe we’ll fight.”
Watson’s remarks came during Friday’s UFC Fight Club Q&A session, which preceded the official UFC on FUEL TV 9 weigh-ins at Stockholm’s Ericsson Globe Arena.
Watson most recently fought at February’s UFC on FUEL TV 8 event in England, where he scored the evening’s “Knockout of the Night” and “Fight of the Night” bonuses in a thrilling second-round stoppage of Stanislav Nedkov. Shortly after, he took to Twitter to ask UFC officials for his next opponent, and he named “The Axe Murderer” as his top target.
“Yo @wandfc, stay on your supplements at 205, or come back to 185 and get knocked the f— out,” Watson wrote. “You decide? Obrigado @ufc & @danawhite.”
“More guys talking about me is good,” Silva said. “Talking good or talking bad, but talking about me is good.”
But Silva’s fans weren’t quite as forgiving and immediately attacked Watson, who’s just two fights into his UFC career, for calling out an MMA legend.
Watson said he didn’t mean for anyone to take offense at his idea.
“Everybody got carried away with it, all of Wanderlei’s fans,” Watson said. “I have nothing against Wanderlei. Many of his fans have told me online that it’s disgraceful I called out a legend. But here’s what it is: Wanderlei Silva’s last fight, he fought Brian Stann. I’m very good friends with Brian Stann. I’ve lived in his house. I know his family very well, and (when) I watch a fight and see my friend get knocked out, my reaction is, ‘I want to get this guy myself.’”
Whether or not the UFC will ultimately agree with Watson remains to be seen. Nursing a few nagging injuries, Watson said June or July seems a logical date for his next booking. Meanwhile, Silva’s past two fights have been contested at limits heavier than 185 pounds, and the 36-year-old has expressed some concern about cutting weight at this stage of his career.
With that in mind, Watson said he’s not exactly optimistic. Still, he thinks it’s a matchup that absolutely should happen.
“Listen, I don’t see it happening,” Watson said. “Look, Wanderlei is at 205 pounds. He’s got bigger names. But I just think for the fans, that would be a great fight.
“I want someone who’s going to stand up and throw down, and who does that more than Wanderlei? Not many guys.”
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