Antonio Silva to Alistair Overeem: 'This Is Not Kickboxing'

Scott Harris@ScottHarrisMMAMMA Lead WriterJanuary 21, 2013

Antonio Silva clubbed his way into a major fight with Alistair Overeem. At UFC 156, we'll see whether he can club his way out.

In the meantime, Silva seems to believe his richer, more multidisciplinary training and competition background could make the difference against Overeem, who rose to fame as a kickboxer.

"He’s a tough guy and he’s got great striking. But this is not kickboxing," Silva said Monday during a UFC media conference call covered by Bleacher Report. "This is not K-1. This is MMA."

The two heavyweight sluggers face off near the top of the ultra-stacked UFC 156 main card, going down Feb. 2 from Las Vegas. 

Silva (17-4) will compete for the first time since picking up his first UFC win, an October TKO over the well-regarded Travis Browne (13-1-1). However, the win was dampened slightly by a leg injury Browne sustained early in the fight. The injury hampered Browne's mobility and his ability to fight—Browne has since called for a rematch.

For the time being, though, Silva said he is focused on finally tangling with Overeem (36-11-1). The two were originally set to meet in the semifinals of the defunct Strikeforce promotion's heavyweight grand prix after Silva and Overeem defeated Fedor Emelinenko and Fabricio Werdum in February and June, respectively, of 2011. However, Overeem, citing injury and a fast turnaround time between fights, withdrew from the tournament. Daniel Cormier replaced Overeem and won the tournament.

Silva may be interested in a return engagement of his own, with heavyweight champ Cain Velasquez, who welcomed Silva to the UFC with a bloody TKO in May. But Silva said Monday he's not worrying about that one, either—at least for now.

"I don't care about the title shot now," Silva said. "My fight is with Overeem. I want to fight him. I waited for this fight for two years...After that, I will think about Cain Velasquez."

Scott Harris is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report. All quotes obtained firsthand unless noted otherwise.

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