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New Interview: Thiago Silva Talks Back Injury, Training, Lyoto Machida And More (UFC 94)

The undefeated UFC light heavyweight contender Thiago Silva is currently preparing for one of the biggest fights in his MMA career.  Not too long ago, Silva battled with a back injury which postponed a bout against Lyoto Machida back in June of 2008.  Now, Silva talks about being in great shape after going through several weeks of physiotherapy.  The only thing going through his mind is getting past Machida in a goal to get a step closer to the UFC 205-pound title. 

In the following interview, Silva talks about his back injury, his recuperation and his intense training for his upcoming bout.  Although he respects Machida greatly, he feels confident in his gameplan.  His fight against Machida headlines the UFC 94: ‘St. Pierre vs. Penn 2’ co-main event.  UFC/MMA fans, expect fireworks on January 31st, 2009!

Interview with Thiago Silva:

Q: What injury forced you postpone your fight against Machida at UFC 89?

A: About three weeks before our fight, I pinched a nerve in one of the
discs in my back and lost the power in my lumbar muscles. I stopped
training for a month and only did physiotherapy and strengthening of my
back muscles. About one month ago, I returned to training, and now I’m
already feeling ready to fight.

Q: How do you plan to beat Machida?
A: My plan is to attack him all the time.

Q: What about his dangerous counter attack game? Aren’t you concerned about that?
A: The opponents who have faced him attacked and stopped; I’ll have a
different gameplan. I want to see how he deals with someone who’s in
very good shape and attacks him for five minutes over three rounds. I’m
not underestimating him. He’s a great fighter, but I’d bet on me. I’m
not here to joke around. I have my goals, and I’m ready to beat Lyoto.

Q: If you had to predict the outcome of this fight, what would you say?
A: It will be a knockout in the first round.

Q: Which of Machida’s fight impressed you the most?
A: I don’t know. Actually, there aren’t any of his fights I really
like. Lyoto’s a fighter who runs more than he fights. He’s not a
fighter who will knock me out easily. He scores points, and I’ll make
it hard for him to score. I already faced the toughest fighters. I
believe it will be more of a psychological fight than a physical fight
for me.

Q: Which fighters have you faced that you believe are tougher than Machida?
A: Houston Alexander, Tomasz Drwal, James Irvin.  Actually, I’ve only faced tough fighters in the UFC — just like Lyoto
— who already defeated many top fighters. I’m on my way to the title.
I want this belt, and it will be mine. 

Q: If you beat Machida, what are the plans? Do you believe you will have to face someone else before getting a title shot?
A:
I believe beating Lyoto will make me more than qualified to fight for
the belt. I’m undefeated. If I beat Lyoto, I want the title shot. I
don’t want another fight. Actually, it depends on my manager, Alex
Davis. He’s the one who will argue about that, but if I win this fight,
I don’t believe there’s a reason to postpone a title shot.

Q: What memories do you have from the time you spent training at the Chute Boxe Academy?
A: I only have great memories from my experience at Chute Boxe. For me,
it was the best experience of my life. I learned all my muay Thai
there. I owe a lot to master Rafael [Cordeiro] and Rudimar [Fedrigo].
Wanderlei [Silva], [Mauricio] “Shogun” [Rua] and all the Chute Boxe
people always gave me great support during the time I was there. Chute
Boxe was a family to me. Their training added a lot to me as a fighter
and as a person.

Q: What would it be like if you had to face Wanderlei Silva or “Shogun” Rua?
A: I wouldn’t like to face friends like them, but I’m a professional,
and everybody has the same goal. My dream is the most important in that
case.

Q: Do you believe Rashad Evans  can beat light heavyweight champion Forrest Griffin at UFC 92 later this month?
A:
I think Rashad’s in an excellent phase in his career. He surprised me a
lot againt Liddell. I believe he’ll win by knockout or by using his
ground-and-pound game. I love tough challenges, and, if I beat Lyoto,
I’d love to face him for the belt, because it would be a challenge
between two undefeated fighters.

Q: What about the UFC 92 matchup between Wanderlei Silva and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson?
A: They’re two top athletes, but, as we use to say training at Chute
Boxe, Wanderlei’s the crazy dog. He has an excellent striking game and
never steps back. I bet on Wanderlei.

Q: How would you describe your experience at American Top Team?
A:
I’ve been living here in the U.S. for almost eight months. It’s been an
unbelievable experience. I’m very happy here, and I don’t want to
return to Brazil. I’m training in a very professional camp, which feels
more like a family. I believe soon ATT will be recognized as the
biggest MMA team in the world. Our goal is to have at least one belt in
each category, and everybody’s working hard for that. Besides great
training partners, we have great trainers like Mohamed Ouali [for muay
Thai], [Marcos] “Parrumpinha” [DaMatta for jiu-jitsu], Conan [Silveira
for MMA] and André “Benkei” [Vinicius Aurnheimer Ferreira], who’s the
best physical trainer I’ve ever met and one of the best in the world.

Q: After his impressive win over Randy Couture at UFC 91, do you see anyone beating Brock Lesnar?
A: Lesnar proved to be a great fighter, but I believe [Antonio]
“Minotauro” [Rodrigo Nogueira] will win, and [Frank] Mir has good
chance to beat Lesnar again, too. Lesnar needs to train a lot of boxing
to try an put him down with his hands. If “Minotauro” can take him
down, he will win easy.

Q: Your ex-rival in Brazil, Luis “Banha” Arthur Cane, is moving up the UFC ladder after his impressive win over Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou at UFC 89. Do you believe we’ll see a fight between you two one day?
A: That’s true. “Banha” rose very fast in the UFC. I’ve followed his
career, since we started almost at the same time. He’s a really
talented fighter. He has everything to be among the top 10 soon, but he
has to improve a lot as a person and stop talking s–t about people he
doesn’t know. When he gets his mind straight, he’ll go up faster.

(props to sherdog.com for the interview)

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