When Antonio Silva defeated Fedor Emelianenko at Strikeforce heavyweight tournament, he was immediately declared to be a favourite to win the tournament outright.
But then the other heavy favourite, Alistair Overeem, was removed from the Grand Prix and was replaced by Daniel Cormier. ‘Bigfoot’ tripped over him, falling victim to a TKO loss and exiting the tournament himself.
He has since landed on his feet by way of a move to the UFC for a fight with Roy Nelson but, speaking with our correspondent in Brazil, Antonio revealed he didn’t see the loss to Cormier coming at all.
Fighters Only/Eduardo Cruz: What has changed on your career since you were hired by the UFC?
Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva: My goals have changed and also my thoughts are to train even more, to look for a victory.
FO: You were knocked out in your last fight at Strikeforce. What did you learn from that loss to Daniel Cormier?
I learnt we have to respect and take every fighters seriously. I will never take the shine of Daniel Cormier’s victory away. If he beat me it was because he was better and in his night but I was feeling my shoulder too bad and had to take two shots to be able to fight.
Besides this, I also thought that because I had defeated Fedor [Emelianenko] that [Cormier] would not be able to beat me. I paid dearly for those thoughts.
FO: Did you re-evaluate the aspects of your career that needed to be worked on?
Yes. First off, I need to stay humble and second, I have to work hard on my speed and striking skills.
FO: After Brock Lesnar’s retirement, what fighter has turned out your principal rival in the UFC?
I don’t have rivals. We’re professionals but as for my wish… if I have the chance one day, I want to fight Alistair Overeem.
FO: What is your opinion about team mates fighting each other?
It is hard, after all, training partners train every day together and it won’t be a good fight for the public because both know each other and recognize where the other is good at.
FO: Would you fight Junior dos Santos or Rodrigo Nogueira for heavyweight belt?
I was instructed by my management not to talk about this subject at all.
FO: Does Fedor Emelianenko deserve to fight for UFC yet? In your opinion, is he still able to be the champion?
Yes, he does. He was a great fighter and he still can be a great fighter but being the UFC champion? I think it is difficult for him.
FO: How many victories do you believe are necessary to get the title shot?
I think today to get to the title shot, its necessary to win at least three times.
FO: What do you make of your opponent for your debut in UFC?
It was a great choice. He is a man who always puts on good fights and has already faced the best of the divison. He is very experienced but I want to win and I will win.
FO: Junior dos Santos hit him for three rounds and could not knock him out. Do you intend to follow the same strategy standing, or perhaps the way to the win is on the ground?
I gotta be in great condition to fight on the feet and on the mat if it is necessary.
FO: Your statements regarding the UFC title contention between Junior dos Santos and Alistair Overeem have been confident. Why you have afirmed with so much conviction that “Cigano” will be the winner?
Junior has cardio to fight for five rounds if necessary but Overeem doesn’t. Junior has a better conditioning, agility and he is very strong as well. I watched and participated in ground trainings with Junior dos Santos and you will be surprised when you see him fight on the ground.
FO: Bigfoot, thanks one last time. What would you like to say to your fanbase in Brazil and in the rest of the world?
I want to send a big hug for all my fans and promise I will give my best in the upcoming fights.