(photo taken from ufc.com)
Thales Leites has just one thing in mind–Anderson "The Spider" Silva. On April 18th, UFC 97 headlines Anderson Silva vs. Thales Leites as part of the main event.
Leites currently holds a 5-fight winning streak with 3 wins coming off of submissions. Although he respects Silva's black belt Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Leites still feels that his ground game is the "weakest piece of his game." The 27-year old Brazilian understands that Silva is considered one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in mixed martial arts, but he believes that he has what it takes to be the new 185-pound champion.
UFC 97 is set to take place at the Centre Bell in Montreal, Canada. Chuck "Iceman" Liddell will take on Mauricio "Shogun" Rua as part of the co-main event.
Here's the snip from Thales Leites (props to mmajunkie):
anything about it. I just did my job for the UFC, and they're the ones
that have to think about who will fight for the title. And they gave me
the chance. They trust me, and they think that I deserve it. That makes
me happy…I don't mind if some guys in some message boards have something to say
about it. I don't mind. I just think about me and my team, and I know
I'm ready for a title shot. I really do…The difference will be the five rounds of five minutes because all of
my other fights were three rounds of five minutes…but
I'm doing basically the same thing with my training. I'm training
everything stand-up, takedowns and ground games. That's it. Nothing
special…Of course I'm focused a little more on my stand-up game than I normally
would…(Anderson Silva) is very dangerous in the stand-up game. I
have to be 100 percent in every situation and be prepared for
everything that could happen in the fight…Sometimes I do think about how he is one of the best
pound-for-pound fighters in the world, but it doesn't make me afraid of
anything…I just have the biggest opportunity of my life to give the performance
of my life. I am training so that I will be ready for anything. Even if
he is the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world, I respect him like
I respect all other fighters. I have to just train a lot and do my job
in the cage. I don't like to think too much about. I know he is one of the best fighters in the world, but I can beat him. I know it…(Silva) is a jiu-jitsu black belt, too…He's very dangerous. He's been able to submit some tough guys on the
ground. But I think this is the weakest piece of his game. Probably the
ground game is where I need to work in order to try and beat him. But I
can beat him, too, with some ground-and-pound — and maybe, I don't
know, standing. Nobody knows. (Gabriel Gonzaga) knocked (Mirko) 'Cro Cop' (Filipovic) out. Nobody expected that. So who knows? Fighting in front of such a big crowd doesn't present any extra pressure for me…I expect for all the fans to make it a full house again. It's going to
be great to fight in front of 22,000 people. It will be great for me,
and it will just give me more power to fight…I just want to be focused 100 percent on the match…I don't want to think until later about how this can change my life. I don't want to think about anything but the match…I'm training every day. This is the fight of my life, and I will get him. And when I get him I will be the new champion."