Jared Cannonier knew he’d get a big name opponent next.
The 35-year-old’s middleweight debut in the UFC couldn’t have gone better. Being close to a 3-1 underdog ahead of his matchup against David Branch at UFC 230, Cannonier knocked out the two-division WSOF champion in the second round. The UFC took notice as well, matching up the MMA Lab standout with former middleweight champion Anderson Silva at UFC 237 on May 11.
“We already had a big name on the docket.” Cannonier told MMANews “When I got the call for Anderson [Silva] we were getting ready to fight Jacare [Souza]. I was excited either way, Anderson is still a big name if not a bigger name. A well versed striker, but it’s going to be a fun fight for me. I think I hit a lot harder than most of the people he’s fought. I feel like I hit a lot harder without getting myself out of position or putting myself in a position of getting countered, which is what Anderson is really good at. He’ll goat you into striking and try to counter. There’s a lot of things I see in watching his fights. I plan to exploit every weakness I find.”
Cannonier (11-4) seems to have found new life in the 185-pound weight class after a 3-3 run in the heavyweight and light heavyweight divisions. Following back-to-back losses against Jan Blachowicz and Dominick Reyes at 205-pounds, Cannonier knew the middleweight division was the right fit. Despite Silva’s durability in recent fights, the Alaska FC veteran believes he can finish “The Spider” in a multitude of different ways.
“I know I can put him away, like I said I can put anyone away. If I create the right situation I can make that happen. I know I can finish Anderson and I can finish him in more ways than one. I can do more than just knock him out. I can wrestle him down to the ground and pound him out. I can probably catch a submission.”
As we’ve seen with Anthony Smith switching weight classes and earning a quick rise to a title shot, Cannonier believes he can do the same thing at 185-pounds. He’s hoping another impressive performance on Apr. 27 will put the rest of the division on notice.
“It’s an opportunity for the world to see what I’m capable of. When they see what I’m capable of, I’m going to let them chose what’s next. Eventually I’m going to land right there at the title shot. That’s not me being cocky, that’s me being confident and knowing what I’m capable of. I’m knocking out anyone on the face of the planet. I’m here, let’s go.”