Business as usual.
That is the theme for Brazilian middleweight fighter Anderson Silva, though the truth is that life is anything but business as usual. Silva, who suffered a horrendous leg break last December in a fight against current middleweight champion Chris Weidman, is now in the early throes of preparing for return to the cage he dominated for so many years.
Silva's much-anticipated fight against Nick Diaz won't happen until late January. But given the way he went out against Weidman—on his back, clutching his leg and screaming—questions regarding his health are of paramount importance. Silva addressed the questions during a Friday conference call with myself and reporters and said he's not back to full strength just yet but will be once he steps in the cage.
"My leg is at 95 percent," Silva said. "It will be 100 percent by the time I fight Nick Diaz."
Silva vs. Diaz is a sublime bit of matchmaking prowess on the part of the UFC. A year ago, it was an unthinkable fight. Now, both fighters are coming off consecutive losses. Both fighters have plenty to gain, but they have nothing to lose, either. It is an easily sold fight for the UFC, and the fireworks in the cage should deliver in spades.
"It's going to be excellent for the fans," Silva said. "We both have not stepped in the Octagon for a while. Nick is a guy that walks forward and likes his boxing. If he stands with me, the fans can expect a great fight."
Silva was not interested in discussing his losses to Weidman. He was not interested in discussing his future, either, outside of noting that he has seven fights remaining on his current UFC deal. His focus is not on becoming champion again, though he will fight for the belt if he is put in a position to do so once again.
"Right now, it's not my priority. If I have the credentials to fight for the title, I'll be more than glad to do it," he said. "At this point, I want to feel my legs walking and my movement. My main priority is to see how I perform. "
Silva never gave any thought to retirement after the fight. No serious thoughts, anyway. But his family wasn't happy when he made the decision to return to the Octagon.
"But they respect my wish, and they are coping with it," he said.
Anderson Silva says nobody's family would want to see them going to war and his family is no different #UFC— Damon Martin (@DamonMartin) August 1, 2014
Silva said that his doctors have not placed any limitations on what he can and cannot do in training. He has a steel rod in his leg, placed there during surgery following the injury, and the rod will remain there for the foreseeable future. Silva said that he wasn't overly concerned when he began throwing his first kicks after the broken leg, though there was a bit of a translation issue as pointed out by Guilherme Cruz from MMAFighting.com:
Jorge Guimaraes (manager/translator) asked Silva in Portuguese "but you're not kicking yet... don't you want to tell (them) that?"— Guilherme Cruz (@guicruzzz) August 1, 2014
Silva reiterated that, if Diaz chooses to stand and fight him, the result could be one of the greatest bouts in UFC history. It is hard to disagree, though it is also hard to imagine a scenario where Diaz comes out victorious. Silva is a healthy 4-1 favorite over Stockton's favorite son, but there are questions surrounding his chin. Is Silva too old to do this any more? Can he resume his streak of dominance against a fighter seemingly tailor-made for a brilliant knockout?
Right now, Silva is focused solely on the process and on finishing the long journey that started in December.
"I'm just dying to return to the Octagon and do the thing I most love in my life," he said. "That's what I want right now."