Right now the most important thing on Anderson Silva’s mind is timing.
After his fight with Israel Adesanya didn’t go his way, the “Spider” knew that he wanted to return when the UFC made the trip to Brazil in May. The opponent didn’t matter, what did was that Silva was able to perform in front of his country.
And on Saturday he will do just that.
“That’s very important for me you know because the timing is completely different now,” Silva said. “I’m not a young guy you know. I spent a long time training in the United States for my fight in Australia and I talked to Dana White after. I told him, 'Please just give me a chance for a fight in Brazil because it’s my country.'”
Silva hasn’t fought in front of the Brazilian faithful since his phenomenal first round finish over Stephan Bonnar at UFC 153. That fight which was nearly seven years ago is a reminder to Silva of a time where he was far more active. This year Silva has plans to be far more active and he believes that accepting fights at the proper times will benefit him.
“When I take this fight I take it because the timing is very important for me. When I accepted the fight in Australia I hadn’t fought in two years and that time off didn’t help me too much,” Silva said. “But I like the challenge. In Brazil it is the same, it is a new challenge for me and I am very excited to fight here in Brazil and I am very happy.”
His UFC 237 bout in Rio De Janeiro will be his third time fighting in Brazil, something that Silva wishes he was able to do more of during his UFC career.
“I’m very excited and very happy because I haven’t fought here in a long time,” Silva said. “And I’m just so happy to be back fighting here.”
If Silva’s performance on Saturday in any way resembles his past bouts in Brazil, fight fans are in for a treat. The former middleweight champion believes that in order for his fight with Jared Cannonier to go his way, he will need to follow a simple formula.
“I need to keep my focus straight and use all my technique,” Silva said. “And put in my heart. Put my heart inside the cage and do my best.”
Silva is looking to recapture the magic that propelled him to a 16 fight win-streak that included 14 finishes. He knows that defeating Cannonier, who recently made the transition from light heavyweight to middleweight, won’t be easy.
“I’ve watched him a lot. He’s a very strong opponent and he has a lot of experience in the UFC,” Silva said. “I believe this is a good fight for me and my opponent. It is also a special fight for the fans.”
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Cannonier is coming off of a dominant victory over David Branch at UFC 230. That short notice performance launched him to No. 10 in the division’s rankings, which is higher than Silva.
But at this point in his career Silva doesn’t care about rankings, he just wants fun fights and to put on a show for his fans.
“I’m just going to do my best and have fun,” Silva said. “I will make everyone proud.”
Make sure you tune in to see Silva fight in front of his home crowd. UFC 237 starts Saturday at 6:15pm/ 3:15pm ETPT with the UFC Fight Pass Early prelims. The ESPN+ prelims begin at 8pm/5pm ET.
The UFC 237 main card will start at 10pm/7pm ETPT and is only available on Pay-Per-View. Order the card here.
Gavin Porter is a digital producer and writer for UFC.com, follow him on Twitter at @PorterUFCNews