Print and Go Back ESPN.com: MMA [Print without images]

Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Wand: The probability I KO Sonnen is big

By Brett Okamoto

Wanderlei Silva
Wanderlei Silva says he's ready to answer the phone should the UFC call about a Chael Sonnen fight.
LAS VEGAS -- It's 100 degrees in Las Vegas and feels hotter inside Wanderlei Silva's gym.

At one point while I'm there, he grabs my shoulder and admits he killed the air conditioning earlier when no one was looking and opened the back door to allow the desert heat inside.

"Very hot in here," he says. Then he tilts his entire body back and laughs diabolically before adding, "If you don't want to sweat, stay on the couch."

Silva (35-12-1) is neither putting off nor anxiously awaiting his next UFC fight. It will come soon enough. He's staying busy between fights in the meantime.

Last month, he spent a week in Europe directing seminars alongside Jose Aldo and Mauricio Rua. He believes mixed martial arts could be fully legalized in France this year. Basically, he has a passion to pursue outside the cage.

"I'm thinking this is a transition to a new job," Silva told ESPN.com. "I'm so glad we have jobs after fighting. A lot of important fighters before would stop fighting and have nothing left. Today, you can fight and make money in a normal life."

That's not to say he's not still heavily invested in his career. He takes his workouts as serious as ever and you can hear frustration in his voice as he talks about the loss to Rich Franklin last year, after he nearly ended it in the second round.

Silva dropped Franklin late in the round and swarmed him with punches until the bell sounded. He's agitated referee Mario Yamasaki moved in to stop the fight, but then changed his mind and let the round continue. Franklin survived and eventually won by decision.

"Either go in there and stop it or don't stop it," Silva said. "If I had won that fight, that's three knockouts in a row. It changes my career."

As of Tuesday, Silva says the UFC has not contacted him regarding a highly expected fight against former middleweight and light heavyweight contender Chael Sonnen -- but his phone is on and he'll answer it when it rings.

"I'm training right now and waiting," Silva told ESPN.com. "I have a guy asking are you going to accept a challenge -- man, nobody has contacted me officially. The boss don't call me, so I'm waiting."

On a "UFC Tonight" show aired on Fuel on Tuesday, Silva was quoted as saying he wants to "suck [Sonnen's] blood." He made no mention of blood sucking to me, but appeared interested in the fight, not to mention confident.

"The probability I knock out Chael Sonnen is very big," Silva said. "Man, everybody knows his game. He is never going to take me down and I'm going to break his nose with my knee."