October, 11, 2012
By Anderson Silva
Rainer Ehrhardt/Getty ImagesAnderson Silva says a last-minute cut to 185 pounds to defend his title at UFC 153 was not an option.Editor's note: Anderson Silva's story is published on ESPN.com courtesy of the UFC.
I'm happy to be two days away from fighting Stephan Bonnar here in Rio in the main event of UFC 153. I didn't think I would be fighting again in 2012, but when my friend and UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo was hurt and had to fall off the card, I agreed to step in to fight as a light heavyweight.
I believe I am part of the UFC, I am one of the champions and have been a UFC champion for a long time and we are all part of the UFC. If I can step up and help, if I am able to, then I will. And I spoke with my team and we agreed that, if the fight was at 205 pounds and not 185 pounds, then I would be ready and in good shape to fight on October 13. Making 185 pounds and defending my title would not have been possible.
Taking this fight to help the show was an opportunity to give back to the Brazilian fans who have always supported me. I was disappointed I didn't get the fight Chael Sonnen here in the summer, and the fans were upset that Aldo couldn't fight at UFC 153 due to his injury, so this was the perfect chance to step up, help the UFC, and give something to the fans.
Not to put down the other countries which have great traditions in martial arts, but Brazil has a proud history of jiu-jitsu and mixed martial arts and I wanted to give something back to the country by stepping up and helping.
I respect Bonnar as a fighter and as a man. You have to respect him. He and Forrest Griffin -- that first fight they had in 2005 on "The Ultimate Fighter" -- is what made what the UFC has become possible. He has done a lot for the sport of mixed martial arts and he deserves a lot of credit for his contribution. He is very big, and brings the fight every time.
Everyone I fight in the UFC is a great challenge. Everyone trains so hard, they are preparing for months and even years to beat me because I am the champion. Bonnar is very strong, has never been stopped by knockout or submission and has great strikes. He is good with takedowns and goes for a lot of submissions.
I want to continue my winning streak. I want to retire from the sport never having lost a single fight in the UFC, and leave a legacy which will last long after I am gone.
I feel good not to have to cut weight to middleweight. I've been able to eat some Burger King and some good food. But this is a tricky night for me Saturday. If I have the chance, I will finish this fight in one round. Bonnar always fights so hard. I will have more speed, more agility than him, but I don't know about the power. That is what makes it tricky. So if I see the chance, I will finish this quickly.
Fighting in Brazil brings its own challenges. I want to be at my best and to perform for my fans and friends, but to be at my best -- to be creative in the Octagon -- I have to first clear my mind of all distractions. That is a little harder when you want to perform at your best, but these are the pressures of fighting at home. It is a different challenge, to be mentally prepared.
I love martial arts and the UFC. I love combat sports. I love training. I have two or three fights left in my career and after Saturday, my focus will be Georges St-Pierre. But that is for Sunday. Now my focus is only Bonnar and bringing a great show to the fans on Saturday night.
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