One of the biggest idols of mixed martial arts has been called on by critics - and some of his own fans - to retire from the sport.
Wanderlei Silva still tries to put on the same exciting performances in the Ultimate Fighting Championship that made him famous in Pride FC but the numbers tell the story - ‘The Axe Murderer’ has won only three out of eight fights he in the Octagon.
Long-time coach and friend Rafael Cordeiro – the leader and owner of Kings MMA – doesn’t hold with popular opinion. He thinks that Silva still has a lot to show before retiring from the ring. For Cordeiro, instead of being criticized, his athlete should be supported for everything he has achieved.
Speaking exclusively to Fighters Only correspondent Eduardo Cruz, Rafael gave his views.
“I have to speak about Wanderlei. We’ve known each other for 22 years and I can say that he knows everything from my life and I know everything about his lifetime, all that feeling that goes in that heart, and as a friend and coach, partner and elderly brother, I can say: Wanderlei still can fight for a long time,” he said.
“Its up to him; his heart knows the time to stop. I think that this is something very personal, it depends so much on the athlete, and Wanderlei still has fire to burn. People say ‘it’s time to stop’ because of the losses, but in five or six fights he won four or five ‘Fight of the Night’ bonuses. That is something that many 20-22 year-old youngsters haven’t achieved yet.
“So before people criticize Wanderlei, they have to praise him for everything that he does and has done. He is an ambassador of this sport and made a generation look up to his style of fighting,” he adds.
“When you speak about guys like Wanderlei, Rodrigo Nogueira and Mauricio Shogun you speak about guys who went through many battles, are war veterans and signed up for more wars. There are guys who think themselves superstars but they haven’t had as many wars as these guys have had.”
Wanderlei has stated an interest in performing at the first UFC edition in China and his name is involved in rumours about a match-up with Patrick Cote or Jake Shields. He also spoke recently about his wish to get fifty professional fights on his score card. Stay tuned to Fighters Only for news on what the future holds to Silva.