View Full Version : Interview: Antonio Silva

08-09-2011, 19:10
Interview: Antonio Silva

A former champion of EliteXC, Silva is slated to face ex-Olympic wrestler Cormier on Saturday (10:30 p.m. ET, Showtime) in Cincinnati during a semifinal bout for the Strikeforce World Grand Prix. Silva has some momentum heading into the show after coming off the biggest win in his career, a dominant victory in February over former No. 1 heavyweight Fedor "The Last Emperor" Emelianenko.

Q: You trained in Brazil to prepare for this fight rather than Florida. What prompted that decision?
Silva: First, I went to help Minotauro (Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira). He asked me for help. Second, I wanted to train a lot of jiu-jitsu, independent of which opponent I'm going to fight. That's what made me go there.

How gratifying was it to see Nogueira win in Brazil?
It was awesome. He was coming off the surgery. A lot of people thought he needed to retire and he overcame everything. It was just awesome. It gave me more energy, more will to train and more will to win.

Are you still training at Imperial Athletics in Florida?
After I left American Top Team, I was not a member of any team at all. I would go to Imperial to train with my friends and I still go there, but today I'm part of the Nogueira team.
I have a lot of friends there (in Florida). The door's open there. There's a lot of guys I really like, like Rashad and JZ and Anthony Johnson. When I'm in Florida, I'll be training there.

You've won many of your fights by getting a take down and dominating from top position. How do you do that against an Olympic-caliber wrestler like Cormier?
During the Fedor fight, I lost the positions and that really bothered me. It kept on going through my head. That and the fact that I'm not going to be able to transform into a world-class wrestler in two months, so if it goes to the ground, I'm going to sweep him and submit him.
That's why I trained so much jiu-jitsu. My training sessions would be five sessions on the bottom and two on top, so if I get there, I'm fine. But I have to get there -- I'm not easy to get down.


Cormier's teammate Mike Kyle had some success in the stand-up game early in your fight with him last December. What do you think Cormier can take from that?
I think there's a negative and a positive. The positive is that maybe Cormier thinks he can do like Mike Kyle and stand up there with me and trade. The negative is, I'm sure Cormier didn't speak to Fedor, but if he did, Fedor would tell him what a nightmare it is to stand up with me.

When you first heard Overeem was out of the tournament and replaced by Cormier, what was your reaction?
I was sad and disappointed because Overeem is the Strikeforce and Dream and K-1 champion. But at the end of the day, I have to fight for my family. I do not pick opponents.
s Cormier a worthy opponent?
We should never disrespect an opponent. Cormier is a tough guy. He's coming from eight straight wins so I have to respect him.
I really wanted to fight someone in the top 10, but it's Cormier and that's the way it's going to be.

Some folks have said that you mainly win because of your size. Why do you think your skills are overlooked?
If size really mattered, Hong Man Choi, Semmy Schilt and Tim Sylvia would be the best in the world. But you see that the shorter guys like Cain Velasquez, Rodrigo Nogueira and Frank Mir are actually better.
People say what they want to say, and they can make all kinds of excuses, but it doesn't really matter.


The other semifinal features Josh Barnett vs. Sergei Kharitonov. How do you think that will go?
It's going to be a great fight. They're two great fighters. Contrary to Josh, I'm rooting for him because I want to meet him in the final. I'll bet he's not rooting for me; he's rooting for Cormier.

Why do you think Josh Barnett is rooting against you?
I don't really like him. It's kind of personal.
I'm like him -- I'm a fighter that can fight any place, any area where the fight goes. He probably thinks Cormier's an easier opponent. And as already said, (he'd have to face) my size: my big head; my big hands; my big foot.

What is it about Barnett that bothers you?
As an athlete, my hat goes off to him. He is a great athlete.
But personally, he comes off as an arrogant, stuck-up kind of guy who thinks he's funny when he isn't, and I don't like that.