'New Anderson' is coming, warns Silva
MANILA, Philippines – Former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva says fight fans will see a new version of “The Spider” when he challenges Chris Weidman in a rematch for the title belt this December.
The Brazilian Silva, acknowledged as the best fighter pound-for-pound in mixed martial arts, suffered a shocking knockout loss at the hands of Weidman when they fought at UFC 162.
But Silva assured his supporters that things will be different when they meet for the rematch at UFC 168 in Las Vegas.
“The new Anderson is coming,” Silva said, as quoted by MMA Mania. “I go to my grand master in Thailand. I go for training. I pick up back my energy, the martial arts.”
“The new Anderson is coming. You’ll see,” he added.
Silva was highly criticized after the loss for seemingly “disrespecting” Weidman, as he kept his arms at his sides for most of the bout. He paid for it when Weidman caught him flush on the chin and knocked him out in the second round.
“I don’t disrespect my opponents. This is my strategy, my style of fight,” Silva explained. “People say, ‘Anderson no respect the opponent, no respect Chris Weidman.' This is not real. I respect Chris Weidman. I respect my opponent.”
The “Spider” also explained why he decided to fight Weidman again after initially saying that he no longer wants to fight for the title.
“(It is) the first time in my life and my career that I got knocked out, and I’m not happy,” he said. “The time I finished the fight, I’m not happy, but I go back to the hotel, and three days later, (UFC president) Dana (White) talked to me.”
Silva said that White informed him that a rematch is “very important” for his legacy, and his coach agreed.
“My coach said, ‘Yeah, this is very important for you. They need you back. They need you to give for the fans one more fight. One more chance for the fans watching, for the belt,’” Silva related.
The loss to Weidman was Silva’s first since 2006, and the first time that he lost by knockout in his entire career. It ended his 16-fight winning streak in the UFC, and his record of 10 straight successful title defenses.