RIO DE JANEIRO
To say that Anderson Silva is one of the best of all time in MMA is almost redundant. A few years after losing the title, the former middleweight champion is still the most dominant champion in the history of the organization, and holds the record for most post-fight bonuses.
With such an impressive resume, it's almost hard to remember that, officially, The Spider has not won a fight since 2012, when he knocked out Stephan Bonnar at UFC 153. But if you think that this bothers Silva, you're wrong.
"I think I've already gone through all the phases of this sport. I've lost, I've won, I've got injured. Now it's about doing what I love.” -- Anderson Silva
"I've already conquered everything, now I just want to have fun, to do what I love. I don't feel any pressure,” Silva said last week as he concluded his training camp in Brazil and looked ahead to his UFC 208 challenge against Derek Brunson on Feb. 11. "I think I've already gone through all the phases of this sport. I've lost, I've won, I've got injured. Now it's about doing what I love.”
Silva made it very clear that he is still chasing after the belt that belonged to him for a little over six years. But the veteran also says that at this point, he wishes to do much more than just go for a title shot. Proof of that is accepting the fight against Brunson, a younger athlete who is coming off a loss and sits behind the Brazilian at the rankings.
"The challenge drew me in. He's eight years younger, he suffered a loss, but he had a lot of wins before,” Silva explained.
At age 41, there's no denying that - while still performing well in the Octagon - Silva is nearing the end of his career. But being well aware of all his achievements, the veteran knows that his name is already eternalized in the sport.
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"When you have a story built with a lot of battle, determination and dedication, it's hard to erase everything,” he said. "With all I've done in the sport, and with what I still plan to do, there's no way to erase it. Of course everything has an expiration date. For now my date is still there, but when the time comes and I feel that I can not do it any more, I will stop. Nothing, the defeats or the setbacks, have hampered the fans' respect and affection.
"There is always a renewal. There will be someone who will come up and become a big name of this sport in Brazil, and hopefully that happens soon.”
And what happens when is time to hang up the gloves? What will move one of the best of all time when MMA is no longer his main job?
"My biggest dream now is to, who knows - I'm getting ready for it - win an Oscar,” Silva said.
Jessica Portasio is a digital journalist for UFC.com.br. You can follow her on Twitter @Jeportasio