UFC middleweight champ Anderson Silva has refused to get in a war of words with loquacious challenger Chael Sonnen before their UFC 117 bout. Instead, he'll let his fighting do the talking...
You never hear too much from a spider before it bites you. In fact, you won’t hear it all until it’s on you and doing its particular form of damage. UFC middleweight champion Anderson “The Spider” Silva seems to be taking this line of attack leading up to his seventh title defense against Chael Sonnen this Saturday night, opting to let the challenger throw all the verbal punches in the lead-up to the UFC 117 main event.
“This is his way of promoting the fight, everyone has their way,” said Silva. “I don’t like to talk like that; I like to go in the Octagon and do my job.”
It’s been his way from the first time he entered the UFC in 2006 with a blistering 49 second knockout of Chris Leben. Ironically, the last fighter to really throw some smack talk Silva’s way was Leben, and the result of that fight speaks for itself. Since then, Silva has been virtually untouched, winning ten more fights to up his pro record to 26-4 while taking over the record books when it comes to the middleweight title.
It’s been a Hall of Fame quality run, but there have been more doubters than ever coming to the forefront after Silva won clear but uninspiring victories over Patrick Cote, Thales Leites, and most recently, Demian Maia. These wins were sandwiched around an ultra-impressive first round knockout of former light heavyweight champ Forrest Griffin, but in this sport, it’s ‘what have you done for me lately,’ and lately, all people have been talking about is Silva’s fight with Maia, which was marred by plenty of showboating, but not enough fighting. The champion has taken such criticism in stride.
“Criticism is part of it,” he said. “Win or lose, there are always critics.”
One of the most vocal has been Sonnen, whose unyielding verbal attacks have made Saturday’s bout one of the most highly-anticipated of the year. It’s actually the perfect stage for Silva to come back with one of his trademark explosive performances, but when you ask if he’s looking to make a statement this weekend, his answer is non-committal.
“When I step in the Octagon I am there to do my job,” he said. “On August 7th I will be defending my title and doing what I trained to do, which is to win fights.”
But what about Sonnen’s attacks?
“He talks a lot, and it’s actually funny,” said Silva, who, while respecting Sonnen’s abilities, has no doubt that his camp has prepared him for another victory in Oakland.
“He (Sonnen) is a tough fighter, but I believe in the work that my team and I have been doing.”
Training at the Black House gym in Southern California with a gang of stalwarts that includes Lyoto Machida, Mark Munoz, Mario Miranda, and Satoshi Ishii, Silva, 35, is still enjoying life as a fighter, and as far as the rigorous work in the gym goes, that’s one of the perks of the job.
“Being around my team, my friends, my family, and the people that are always there supporting me is what motivates me,” he said. “I love what I do, I enjoy training, and the atmosphere with my teammates, teaching new guys, this is my life.”
And considering that despite the criticism he has received he has barely lost more than a few rounds in his entire UFC stint, Anderson Silva is still as the top of his game and still eager to take on all comers in the middleweight division, beginning with Chael Sonnen.
“I think everyone has a goal to win the title, and at 185 pounds that title is mine, so that is why I am the target,” he said. “But I like the challenge, it motivates me.”