Anderson Silva is on the line with a plethora of media members, all who want to know what's it been like to be Anderson Silva this past year, and what his mind set is leading into his come back fight against Nick Diaz, now scheduled for early 2015. Silva, of course, is the record-setting and long-time king of the UFC's middleweight division.
He won sixteen straight UFC bouts before running into Chris Weidman in his last two bouts. In the first fight, Silva got knocked out and lost his belt.
In the immediate rematch with Weidman, Silva got dropped once more in the first round, but recovered just long enough to make it to a second round where his leg was shattered when the new champion blocked a kick from the Brazilian.
Silva had lost two straight fights, and lost them violently. What's more, he was middle-aged (ancient in the fight world) and faced a grueling recovery process just to be able to walk again.
Silva wasted no time in promising that he'd return to the cage, and he's appeared to shatter every expectation of how fast he could heal and recover his injured leg. He's cleared to spar again and has reportedly been training hard.
Now, he's even got the super fight with Diaz inked. There have surely been dark days for Silva in the past year, but he says he never once considered retiring as a result of them.
“Retirement never went through my mind,” he says through a translation by co-manager Jorge Guimaraes.
“What’s happening right now is I'm just dying to return to the Octagon and do the thing I most love in my life. That's what I want right now."
Like all professional athletes, Silva will one day have to at least scale back doing what he most loves in the world. "The Spider" seems intent on pushing that date as far back as possible, however.
He says that his leg is almost nearly back to normal, and that it will be completely ready by fight night against Diaz. “I’ve been doing a lot of physical therapy, and right now, it’s at 95 percent and improving. On the day of the fight, it’s going to be 100 percent," he insists.
As for his legendary kicks, which are precisely what got him injured so badly late last year against Weidman, the fighter admits that he's still not quite recovered his confidence there. “I’m not kicking as hard as I usually do," he admitted.
"I’m going to wait to kick hard on the day of the fight."
Whether or not Silva will be able to make that mental leap remains to be seen. As does how far he will take his come back.
Silva's most ardent fans will clamor for him to make a title run, but the man himself knows it is foolish and premature to talk about belts again. For now, it would appear, Silva is fighting again simply because he loves to - in stark contrast to his opponent.
"Right now, [a title shot] is not my priority but if I have the credentials to fight for the title, I'll be more than glad to do it," he explains.
"At this point, I want to feel my legs walking and my movement. My main priority is to see how I perform."
As for his fight with Diaz, Silva correctly believes that it is a perfect fight for him to come back to. In Diaz, he won't just face a much smaller fighter, who is also coming off of two straight losses, but a fighter who has always been willing to stand and trade strikes.
Silva may not know if he can become the greatest fighter in the world once more, but he is confident that he can at least still put on a great fight. “This fight has all the ingredients to be one of the best fights of all time," he says.
"It's going to be excellent for the fans. 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."