Anderson Silva is smiling, but you can see the fire burning in his eyes.
“I’m ready for a new challenge,” he says with a steely expression on his face. “I feel prepared.”
Now that he has got that off his chest, Silva sits back and visibly relaxes at his Spider Kick gym in Los Angeles. It may be early for him but it has already been a long day of sparring for ‘The Spider’, who is busy preparing for the ‘Tribute to the Kings’ event on June 19, where he will take on Julio Cesar Chavez Jr at the Jalisco Stadium in Mexico.
For more than a decade, Silva (34-11) spent the majority of his career making a name for himself in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), the world’s premier mixed martial arts organisation, before being released by the promotion in 2020.
In an exclusive interview with GIVEMESPORT, Silva admitted he was a bit surprised by the decision but he insists he never had any intention of calling it quits.
“I love fighting. You know, fighting is my life,” says the 45-year-old. “You need to do something special because you believe in yourself, not because you put money first.
“And for me, I just try to enjoy the moment and do the best I can.
“I’m learning different techniques every day. The challenge is for my mind not just for my body.”
Silva also confesses he grew up idolising Julio Cesar Chavez Sr, the former three-weight world champion who has come out of retirement to face Hector Camacho Jr, the son of his legendary rival, on the same card.
“I’m so happy, you know, because I looked up to [Julio Cesar] Chavez Sr when I was younger, and now I get to fight on the same card as him. I feel very lucky,” he says.
“And I just want to enjoy the moment and try my best with my coach because life is so special.
“Especially right now, the world has changed – everything has changed, you know. And I’m lucky because I get to continue doing something that I love.”
Silva rarely speaks about his opponents, even if they get under his skin. To his credit, Chavez Jr has fought a who’s-who list of opponents, including the likes of Andy Lee, Danny Jacobs and Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez.
That felt important to point out, and Silva responded in kind by expressing his admiration for the the 30-year-old Mexican.
“Canelo [Alvarez] is a completely different challenge for everybody,” he added. “Canelo is the best in the sport right now.
“It’s incredible when you watch him fight. It’s insane. I respect him a lot.
“I like to watch him fight because he passes on the knowledge, the energy – how hard he trains, how much he loves the sport, you know?
“I feel so happy when I get to watch Canelo fight. He’s amazing.”
It is a tough test for Silva but a risky fight nonetheless for both men. At 45, Silva is almost ten years older than the 35-year-old Chavez Jr who boasts 34 knockouts in 52 victories.
Silva, who has spent time training in America, knows he must not get complacent. But that’s why he’s been training so hard as he prepares for the next big chapter of his career.
Fighting is what he loves. It’s all he’s ever known. And he wouldn’t have it any other way.
“Tribute to the Kings” will be available for live viewing on cable, satellite and digital Pay-Per-View, starting at 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT, on for a suggested retail price of only $39.99. Integrated Sports Media and Joe Hand Promotions will distribute throughout North America via DirecTV, iN Demand, Vubiquity, DISH, SaskTel, Shaw PPV and via the FITE.TV website and app in the United States, Canada and select markets worldwide.