Erick Silva has always been one of those fighters that make fans pull their hair out. On one night, he looks like someone with the potential to win a welterweight title; on others, he’s just another 170-pounder.
His UFC record proves it, as he’s gone on a win-loss-win-loss pattern for the last eight fights, a span of three years with so much potential and so many near misses. Yet it was in his most recent fight – a May loss to Matt Brown – in which we really found out who Silva is, proving that the faith of the masses was well-placed in the native of Vila Velha, Espirito Santo, Brazil, and that wins and losses don’t always tell the full story.
> Watch: Submission of the Week - Erick Silva vs. Charlie Brenneman
“In MMA, the end result doesn’t always say the real facts of what the fight was,” he said. “I am working along with my team to improve my techniques, and I am sure that the positive results will come as a consequence.”
This Saturday, Silva will return to the Octagon to face Milwaukee prospect Mike Rhodes in Barueri. It’s his first bout since the Brown match, a grueling Fight of the Year candidate that pushed both men to the limit.
“It was a very tough fight,” Silva said. “I would have never expected the fight to end the way it did, but that result serves as motivation for me to train harder.”
After nearly stopping Brown with a body shot in the first round, Silva was forced into a trench war until getting halted in the third frame. It was one of those fights that show just how hard this game is, and while the combatants understand that a battle like that is part of the gig, that doesn’t make it any easier on their loved ones.
“It was very difficult for my parents and for all of my family,” Silva said. “My friends, family and training partners gave me all the support I needed at that time. They comforted me and that was also a motivation for me.”
How amped up was Silva to get back into the Octagon after his defeat? Within a little over two weeks, he was back in the gym.
“Fifteen days after the fight I was training Jiu-Jitsu,” he said. “I was out for a longer time due to a deviated septum surgery, but this time away from the Octagon was good for me to review some aspects of my life and career, and many things have changed.”
It’s a good time for Silva to reevaluate and move forward, because as he enters his ninth UFC fight at the age of 30, it’s time for him to either make a run or be saddled with questions of “what if?” And if you’ve seen him when he’s on top of his game, he belongs with the best welterweights. But he has to prove it every night, and not just every other night, and while he says that “You learn more from one loss than from ten wins,” he can’t afford a second straight defeat against Rhodes, a young man who is also in need of a W after two losses to start his UFC career.
“He is a great athlete and he needs the victory as much as I do,” Silva said of his opponent. “It will be a war.”
At least it will be one waged on Silva’s home soil in Brazil, and the support of his fans is something not lost on the welterweight trying to break into the top 15.
“That makes me feel happy,” he said. “I fight for them with all of my heart. The show is for them.”
A win would be the perfect way for Silva to end such a rollercoaster year, and while he’s focused on Saturday night, he also has his sights set on what he hopes will be the biggest year of his career in 2015.
“2014 was a year that I started really well,” he said. “I had a tough loss that taught me a lot, and right after that I went through a surgery. So I am eager to be back and I hope that I get to fight at least four times in 2015 and be ranked within the best of my category with consecutive and convincing wins.”