Untitled Document
24/7 updates | Industry leader    
 
Boxing News
Click Here
 



 

Tuesday December 4, 2007 10:11 AM PST

 

Wanderlei Silva Q & A

By Gary Herman

In the ultimate dream match many years in making, Chuck Liddell and Wanderlei Silva will finally square off coming up at UFC 79.

The two long reigning light heavyweight champions nearly met in the UFC a few years ago, but when negotiations fell through, Silva returned to Pride Fighting Championships to defend his belt, and Liddell stayed with the UFC defend his light heavyweight belt.

Now, close to three years later, neither Silva or Liddell remain champion, but the excitement of the match-up is there all the same. Both fighters possess one-punch knockout power, and both fighters would like nothing more than to stand and bang for however long the fight lasts.

We recently caught up with Silva to discuss a variety of topics including the upcoming fight with Liddell, what it’s like to be back in the UFC, his views on Mauricio “Shogun” Rua’s debut, and why Fedor Emelianenko may very well be crazy.

Question: To get started, what are your thoughts on the fight with Chuck Liddell?

Wanderlei Silva: This is a great match-up for all the fans and me. I’ve waiting for this fight for a long time, and now, the moment is almost here. I wake up and sleep only with this fight in my mind.

Q: How long have you been waiting for him?

WS: I first saw him fight in Brazil about eight years ago. Chuck won. I wanted to fight him ever since then, but I went to Japan, and he went to the UFC. Then, I became the champion in Japan, and he became the champion here so we never had a chance to fight. I have always been waiting for this match.

Q: It seemed like the fight was close to coming to fruition a few years ago when you and Chuck had the famous stare down in the cage. Unfortunately, the fight never came to pass. From your point of view, what happened there?

WS: In the UFC, there were some difficult negotiations, but I wanted to fight him in Pride – in the tournament. I didn’t get the opportunity to because he lost in Pride to Rampage (Jackson) before getting the chance to fight me.

Q: Now that Pride is no longer around, are you personally happy to be fighting in the U.S. for the UFC?

WS: Yes - because it is much different here. The crowd is always cheering very loudly. It is a great scene. I believe the fans really like my style. If I have good opponents and good matches, I believe I will have very good fans here too.

Q: While you were the Pride light heavyweight champion, were you following the UFC?

WS: Yes, I watched the UFC many times in Brazil. They had some great fights, and now, the UFC has the best fighters in my division. For me, it is great to fight the best guys possible. I want to fight everybody.

Q: Besides Chuck Liddell, is there anyone specifically you’d like to fight?

WS: I want to fight the champion – Rampage. I want the belt. I think with a win against Chuck Liddell I may make me able to fight the champion.

Q: There is a name with some history for you – Rampage Jackson. Jackson has had a lot of success coming over to the UFC, and you defeated him two times in Pride. What do you think of Rampage’s accomplishments in the UFC? Does his success surprise you?

WS: Not at all. He’s a very tough guy. He’s a good puncher. He’s a good wrestler. He’s got a great style for the UFC. I beat him two times, but they were both very hard fights. If I do end up fighting him again, I am going to have to train very hard. The UFC belt is a dream for me. The UFC belt is a symbol for the fighters. It is where the best fighters fight. The people who have the belt go down in history.

Q: That’s an interesting comment about how important the UFC belt is to you. What do you think about Fedor Emelianenko’s choice not to fight in the UFC?

WS: He’s crazy. I don’t know why the guy doesn’t want to fight here. These are the best events. This is the biggest promotion. The guy could be a symbol here. He could have money for the rest of his life. He could do well with the promotion, with sponsors, with commercials, and many other possibilities. Japan is a good market, but the US is different. The American fans love the fighters. Everyday, people come up to me in the street. He needs to come to the UFC.

Q: When you were with Pride, there were always fights among different weight classes. Was there ever a chance that you and Fedor were going to fight?

WS: I did have about ten fights at heavyweight in my career, but I never fought Fedor. I would have gone in there though. I am not afraid of anyone. I will fight whomever the promoter says.

Q: Another Brazilian fighter, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, did not do so well in his debut. What do you think happened in his fight with Forrest Griffin?

WS: I don’t know. It was a great surprise. The guy (Rua) is basically number one in the world. Rua is a very strong guy. He’s got good jiu-jitsu. He’s got good kicks. But Griffin was amazing. He won. He never stopped. He’s good with his hands. He’s a warrior. I changed my opinion about Griffin after this fight. After beating Shogun, Griffin could be the next challenger for the champion.

Q: When do you think Shogun will return?

WS: I think he’ll be back to the top by the end of the year. I’m not sure when his next fight will be. Before the Griffin fight, Shogun thought Griffin would be an easy opponent, but Griffin was a very tough guy. Griffin never stops. He has great stamina. Shogun didn’t train enough. Shogun will be back though. He’s a great fighter.

Q: Forrest Griffin started out with the UFC on the first season of The Ultimate Fighter. Would you ever be interested in possibly being a coach on the show in the future?

WS: I’d love to coach or even be a fighter on it. What I think they should some day is have a program with major professional fighters. For me, I’d want to do it. It’s a great show. The show made the UFC very popular.

Q: Thanks very much for your time and in closing, how long can the fans of the UFC expect to see you in the octagon for?

WS: I am signed for four fights over two years. I’d like to win the belt in those two years. It’s a great promotion.

 

 
Press Releases:

BOXING SCHEDULE
Boxing Schedule by 15rounds.com

Untitled Document
Untitled Document
Untitled Document
Untitled Document
Mail Alerts >> |
© 2008 15rounds.com
SEO by pushtraffic Back to top^^

Frontpage | Schedule | Results | Links | 2004 Olympics | Contact us | Advertising | Sign Up | Sign In | Ratings |

Untitled Document
Mail Alerts >> |
© 2008 15rounds.com
SEO by pushtraffic Back to top^^

Frontpage | Schedule | Results | Links | 2004 Olympics | Contact us | Advertising | Sign Up | Sign In | Ratings |

Untitled Document
Mail Alerts >> |
© 2008 15rounds.com
SEO by pushtraffic Back to top^^

Frontpage | Schedule | Results | Links | 2004 Olympics | Contact us | Advertising | Sign Up | Sign In | Ratings |