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When the Chute Boxe star returned to Brazil after being knocked out in the semifinals of PRIDE’s Open-Weight Grand Prix, Silva spoke with Sherdog.com about his latest performance. “The Axe Murderer” explains what he learned in defeat and gets in-depth about his experience in the ring with “Cro Cop.”
Sherdog.com: How do you analyze your loss to Mirko “Cro Cop”?
Wanderlei Silva (Pictures): I was very disappointed. I thought: “Man, what a crap fight!” But I watched this fight earlier today and I saw that I was walking into the fight, but he was always catching me with counterblows. He was connecting with strikes and I wasn’t. I couldn’t find myself in the fight. When he knocked me down his punch hit me in my ocular bone — and those who took a blow in the eye know it hurts a lot. That was when my eye closed so I thought “Holy shit!” When the referee stopped the fight [to check my eye] they told me they were going to stop the fight. I asked that they let the fight continue because I was pissed off and I wanted to hit him back. I took three blows there and I wanted to hit him back anyhow. So I asked to the fight keep going, because it’s only finished when the bell tools; the good fighter is the one who gives a show even when he loses. Thank God I’m already fine. I’m recovering myself from the injuries and my head is focused on the next fight.
Sherdog.com: I used to say that you’re disappointed when you can’t show yourself well — just like in your loss to Ricardo Arona (Pictures) last year. But this time you are not so disappointed, are you?
Silva: Exactly. We were talking in the dressing room before the fight that the worst thing that can happen to a fighter is when he can do nothing in the ring; the fighter loses his fight without doing a thing. I know I gave my best in this fight, but unfortunately that wasn’t my night. So I’m not as sad as people think. I’m sad, of course, because I wanted to win, but I know I gave my best and I know there’s always the next time — and the next time things will be different.
Sherdog.com: Did Mirko surprise you in this fight?
Silva: Not really. I think I made a mistake being careless. I think I should be more careful because against a high-class athlete like him you cannot expose yourself that much. I think I should have been more strategic; I was too heart and guts … just like “I’ll go walk to him and blow his face up.” That’s what I was thinking. Then things came easier for him. He was just waiting and connecting his counterblows. He did not throw many strikes but he was connecting every single blow. He is a strong guy. He weighs more than 220 pounds. The gloves are too tiny and in the beginning of the fight the guy had all his energy.
Sherdog.com: Was that his night?
Silva: You can say it too. I don’t know if it exists, but I think that was his night. So I was disappointed because there wasn’t a Brazilian final fight, or even a Brazilian fighter in the final fight. We where waiting for this. I’m sad to have disappointed my fans, but in fighting sports these things can happen. I gave my best. I wish I could bring that belt to Brazil, but I couldn’t.
Sherdog.com: When they stopped the fight to examine you, the doctors considered ending the fight?
They considered it. They told they would end the fight. They told Master Rudimar that the fight couldn’t go on, so Rudimar asked me if I wanted to stop. It was not his decision. It was mine. I said, “No, I want to continue! I want to keep going!” because this is not what I do — I keep going until the end. Frankly speaking, I thought I could knock him out. Why not? Suddenly I could hit his chin and knock him out. That’s how our sport is. So I asked to continue and I went to all or nothing. My eye was totally closed. I couldn’t see anymore. During the fight he hit my other eye and my sight became a little shaded. Then I thought, “Oh, now I’m in trouble!” (laughs). So it was a matter of time before he hit me with that damn kick. I will give no excuses. That night he was better than me. Unfortunately I have nothing to complain about. I can’t say I hit my head to the ground or something like this (laughs).
Sherdog.com: Even in losing, you got the admiration of a lot of fans because you kept going, because you kept fighting even after the doctors wanted to stop the fight. What do you think about this?
Silva: This is the good part of it all. The fight happened in Sunday, then on the Monday I went to Master Rudimar, even hurt, and I said, “I’m stronger than yesterday, Master.” I have this point of view: If the guy is a smart guy, even when he is defeated, he becomes stronger. I’m not the kind of guy who cries a river. We have to raise the head, learn with our mistakes, and keep walking. And about the caring response from the fans, this really surprises me. I never saw this in fighting before. I’m really touched because I received a lot of good messages from the fans. I spent hours reading, and this made me feel better. This fuels me with good will, gives me courage, and shows me who’s really my fan, not who is with me only in the good moments. In these moments, you see who is really your brother, who is by your side anytime. I think this was my bigger lesson to learn. The affection of my fans was my real prize, and I can say that there were hard moments because when the referee decided to end the fight I was in doubt and hurt a lot. So that moment was a boundary mark. They would end the fight. I think if I was another athlete, they would not have even discussed it; they would end the fight. But it was me, so they let me keep going. And think we have to always try harder. There are a lot of people who give up easily in the life.
Sherdog.com: When will you get back to training?
Silva: I will take a vacation right now. I will go to Bahia to take some sun and relax, but I will be training as soon as I get back. I actually had no serious injuries, only a few cuts. I will be healed in a week. I don’t know what is gonna happen. I will maybe fight Chuck Liddell (Pictures) in November. I don’t know how the negotiations are going. I don’t know if I will fight him or another guy, but the next one I will take will pay for my loss. Someone has to pay for it, so let it be the next guy. I know I will have to train harder and focus myself because I know this is what everyone expects from me and this is what I expect from myself. I know I have this potential and I will be prepared for the next fight.
Sherdog.com: To end this interview, leave a message to those who access Sherdog.com.
Silva: I want to say that I will be in the USA in October, to see Shogun in PRIDE. Everyone who wants to talks to me, take an autograph or take a picture with me, I will be at your will. It will be a big pleasure for me. I want to thank everyone who sent messages to my Web site. I wish I could fight in the USA — maybe I’ll do this in November. Even if I fight against an American guy I would like to ask the support of everyone, because I will always give my best. I hope you guys enjoyed my show and supports me too. A big hug for you, and God bless you all