Anderson Silva accepted UFC 200 bout vs Cormier without training
MANILA, Philippines – Former middleweight kingpin Anderson Silva came to Las Vegas, Nevada expecting only to enjoy the festivities for the UFC 200 pay-per-view card, but plans suddenly changed for the 41-year-old Brazilian on short notice when he volunteered to face current light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier in a 3-round non-title bout.
Cormier was originally penciled to have a rematch with rival Jon Jones in the main event, but the title unification match was cancelled after the latter was informed of a potential anti-doping violation stemming from an out-of-competition drug test.
UFC officials found a late replacement in Silva, who willingly offered his services even if he enters the marquee match-up on less than two days' notice.
Silva bared that he could not resist the opportunity to battle a notable name like Cormier at the milestone event.
“I think I'm in good shape and I don't want Daniel or anyone else to think that I'm underestimating him or coming in here to try to challenge a champion," he said through a translator at a press conference on Thursday, July 7 (Friday Manila time).
Silva was supposed to lock horns with Uriah Hall at UFC 198 last May, but an emergency gall bladder surgery forced him to withdraw from the fight.
“The Spider” admitted that he was inactive in training for a few months since his operation, but he noted that he started to spar on Thursday, July 7.
"I am here to challenge myself and I think that I haven't trained in a few months, but I think that I'm in good condition to go in there and put on a good fight," Silva affirmed.
UFC president Dana White revealed that Silva contacted him immediately after news broke of Jones' removal from UFC 200,
The 46-year-old promoter confided that matchmakers initially wanted to schedule the encounter for 5 rounds, but Silva insisted to make it a 3-round affair.
“Anderson’s philosophy was listen, ‘If I beat Daniel Cormier, people are gonna know I’m the guy anyway.’ It’s a little bit better getting that belt,” White stated. “We have to agree to disagree on that one. He wants to fight 3 rounds. Anderson is giving Daniel the opportunity to fight, to make money and to perform at UFC 200. So if Anderson wants two rounds, we’ll give him two rounds.”
Silva has fought at 205 pounds 3 times during his UFC tenure, scoring first-round stoppage victories over James Irvin, Forrest Griffin and Stephan Bonnar.
“I think it’s an interesting, fun fight. Listen, Anderson Silva’s undefeated at 205. Not just undefeated, devastatingly undefeated. Every time he’s moved up to 205, he looked even better than he did at 185. It’s crazy,” White explained.
The last time that Silva had his hand raised in triumph was when he danced with Bonnar in October 2012 to save the UFC 153 card that had been ravaged by injuries.
Silva defeated Nick Diaz in January 2015, but the result was overturned when he failed multiple drug tests for steroids.
According to White, Silva underwent medical clearance by the Nevada State Athletic Commission, but the UFC expects him to pass with flying colors.
“He had to do all those tests that they have to do. We got it all done in one day and that’s nuts,” White asserted.
Although odds are against Silva to walk out of the Octagon with the win, UFC’s head honcho pointed out that anything could happen when the cage door closes.
"Let me tell you what, we just walked in here from a fight that just ended in the first round. The way that [Eddie Alvarez] just finished [Rafael dos Anjos], anything can happen in this sport. [Michael] Bisping came in on 11 days and knocked out Luke Rockhold, who destroyed him in their first fight. Anything is possible in a fight," White claimed. – Rappler.com