UFC 139 primer: Silva fighting to fend off retirement, doesn’t want to let down his fans

Steve Cofield
November 18, 2011

This wasn't the time Wanderlei Silva wanted to go out. He's on a card with 41-year-old in the main event and facing a 39-year-old, yet "The Axe Murderer" is the guy trying to hold off retirement talk.

Silva, a loser of 6-of-8, faces Cung Le in the co-main event of UFC 139 tomorrow in San Jose, Ca. Another loss and it'll force UFC president Dana White to tell the former PRIDE star that's it. His June 27-second loss to Chris Leben at UFC 132 has Silva all fired up to quiet the critics.

"My motivation is back," Silva, 35, told MMAjunkie.com. "I need to make my fans happy again. I have a lot of fans around the world. I know Saturday a lot of guys are going to have barbecue in their homes, and I know my responsibility to the millions and millions and millions of people that are going to watch that fight. I want to make my fans happy."

Silva (34-11-1, 3-6 UFC) doesn't believe folks when they talk about his chin being weak after 46 professional fights.{ysp:more}

"In the first three minutes, everybody has power. The gloves are very small. One punch can finish you. But we tried to train so that this won't happen anymore," Silva said. "I trained more my defense," he said. "My attack is really good, but I trained more my defense. My coach told me what I need to do, and I tried."

Le presents a unique challenge. He's made a successful transition from the world of kickboxing. The Vietnamese fighter does a brilliant job of controlling distance with his kicks. Silva has to find a way to get inside or he'll get picked apart. Le is a minus-150 favorite.

Watch UFC 139 right here on Yahoo! Sports