Anderson Silva - The Peaceful Warrior - From Skinnie Magazine - April 2007

This is a profile I wrote on UFC Middleweight Champion, Anderson Silva, for Skinnie Magazine. The text of the article is printed below.



Originally published in SKINNIE Magazine APRIL 2007

Anderson Silva is a killer. 

Anderson Silva is ruthless. 

Anderson Silva is vicious.

Current UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva is…none of the above. Say it ain’t so?

The Anderson Silva I encountered was all smiles while practicing some of his patented dance moves that fans have become accustomed to seeing after his fights…that was until he saw a skateboard sitting in the corner of warehouse where our interview was to occur. The southpaw quickly grabbed the board and embarked on what must be every promoters and manager’s nightmare: their star champion awkwardly skating around a warehouse and eventually crashing on the cement as the skateboard shot out from under his feet. Silva thought it was funny.

For those still living under a rock, mixed martial arts is quickly surpassing boxing to become the premier combat sport in the United States, and the UFC is leading that charge by selling out arenas throughout the country, and shattering live gate and pay per view records every month it seems. Anderson Silva has immediately emerged as one of the brightest stars in a company filled with bright stars. What’s truly amazing in Silva’s case is that he’s been with the company for less than a year, and only has three fights to credit inside the Octagon.

But what three fights they were.

At UFC Ultimate Fight Night 5, in June 2006, Silva entered as an unknown to casual fight fans stateside (he fought once in 2006 in a tournament in Hawaii), to make his UFC debut in the main event against highly touted Chris Leben, who was rapidly climbing the ranks, and was being groomed for a title shot against then-champion Rich “Ace” Franklin.

Leben’s five-fight win streak ended in just :49 of the first round after Silva’s knee connected flush with Leben’s head, in a move that would be a sign of things to come from Silva…

The UFC wasted no time and catapulted Silva into a title fight against Franklin at UFC 64, where the results were eerily similar. Silva dominated Franklin for three minutes and secured the title with a knee that literally rearranged Franklin’s face.

Silva faced Ultimate Fighter Season 4 winner, Travis Lutter, in what was supposed to be his first title defense at UFC 67 in February 2007. Lutter failed to make the 185 lb. weight limit, and the bout was changed to non-title affair. This time around, Silva, a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt under Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, controlled the fight on the ground, finishing Lutter off with elbows to the head, while holding Lutter in a triangle choke.

By the end of that fight, there was no doubt in anyone’s mind: Anderson Silva was a bona-fide mixed martial arts superstar in the United States.

“I feel very gratified being recognized and that the sport’s growing,” Silva, who’s planning to move to Los Angeles, said. “It’s a little different. I’m not used to having all this attention, but I’m learning to deal with it, and it makes me want to work harder to become a better and better fighter. Each time I come out, I hope to make more fans.”

Anderson Silva wants to become a better fighter?

That’s not good news for fighters in the UFC middleweight division looking to take the crown from the current king.

Growing up in Curitiba, Brazil, Anderson Silva never fancied himself as someone who would become a professional fighter. Nonetheless, like many young people, he discovered martial arts at a young age, and never looked back.

“I started training Tae Kwon Do at an early age,” Silva said, “and it evolved into Muay Thai, Jiu-Jitsu, and it all just went from there. I never really had any goal of being a mixed martial arts fighter. It just kind of happened naturally.”

Silva’s journey to stardom in the UFC took him globetrotting across the world and left a butcher’s bill of vanquished opponent’s along the way.

He began his career fighting in May 2000 his native Brazil, losing a close split decision against Luiz Azeredo. Silva rebounded and went on a nine-fight winning streak that had an early stop in the Shooto organization, where he won their middleweight title (at 167 lbs.) by defeating Hyato “Mach” Sakurai. He went back and forth from fighting in Brazil and Pride in Japan, defeating fighters like Jeremy Horn and former UFC welterweight champion, Carlos Newton, along the way. In September 2004, Silva found himself in England challenging Lee Murray for the Cage Rage middleweight title, which Silva won via decision.

With Rich Franklin’s recent win over Jason MacDonald at UFC 68, it looks that Franklin and Silva will soon have a date set once more to compete for the middleweight title inside the Octagon. Despite winning with relative ease in their first go around, Silva does not take Franklin lightly, and contends that Franklin is the best all-around stand up fighter in their division, a claim that many experts make about Silva, and not just in his division. Many will tell you with no hesitation that Anderson Silva is the best striker in the world, pound for pound.

“I don’t really look at myself as the best pound for pound striker in the world,” Silva counters. “In all honesty, I feel that for standing up, exchanging, and hanging in there and trading blows technically, and moving pretty well…I’d probably have to say Rich Franklin.”

“A fight’s a fight,” Silva says about a possible rematch with Franklin. “Everyone knows that anything can happen in a fight. Only that night we’ll be able to determine what’s going to happen. He’s a great fighter, Rich Franklin, and I would love to fight him again. I would love to give him the opportunity that he gave me.”

With a highlight reel full of knockouts, it might be surprising to discover that Silva isn’t killer that his impressive resume might suggest.

“I’m a pretty down to Earth, relaxed guy. Despite what it seems like when I’m inside the Octagon, I’m very unhappy about the results of sometimes what happens. I’m not into hurting anybody, and it hurts me when I hurt someone. While it’s happening, it’s my job, and I’m there to do my duty, but deep down inside, I’m a very tranquil guy that’s very peaceful and I respect everyone I fight. It bothers me to hurt them… But if you disrespect me, you’ll get hurt.”

Anderson Silva At A Glance:
Favorite music is hip hop and R&B
Favorite group is Dru Hill, and also like DMX and Lauren Hill
He relaxes by playing his Playstation. Any soccer game will do.
Wishes he could’ve trained with Carlson Gracie
Feels that Muay Thai and Jiu-Jitsu are best disciplines for Mixed Martial Arts. 

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