The loss suffered in his UFC debut against Cain Velasquez didn’t put any extra pressure on the shoulders of Antonio Silva’s shoulder, who went on to defeat Travis Browne by knockout in his following fight.
Now the giant from Paraíba has a new challenge coming up at UFC 156, when he is slated to face Alistair Overeem in a fight that will grant the Dutch striker a heavyweight title shot or will put ‘Bigfoot’ closer to it.
Speaking with Fighters Only, the former Strikeforce competitor explained that he already has set up a strategy to annul Overeem’s striking on the feet and his guillotine on the ground. Silva revealed that he is coming to Brazil to decide whether the camp will take place at Team Nogueira headquarters or not.
Fighters Only: Did you feel yourself pressured before the fight against Travis Browne since you had been defeated by Cain Velasquez
Bigfoot Silva: No, I didn’t feel pressured but I knew that I had to win to continue fighting at UFC because we all know that it wouldn’t be good to suffer two losses in a row.
Fighters Only: Browne stated that he lost because he got hurt along the fight. What’s your opinion on his statement?
Bigfoot Silva: He a man of two words because right after the fight he said the injure were not an excuse for the loss now he says it was the reason. But anyone who has a mouth can say what they want, eh?
Fighters Only: How was your feeling to have performed the main fight of the card?
Bigfoot Silva: The sensation was wonderful, it was a dream that came true and I felt very privileged because even coming off a loss the UFC gave me the opportunity to do a main event.
Fighters Only: The UFC attended your request and slated you to fight Alistair Overeem, who also declared a desire to face you. Is this the most important fight of your career?
Bigfoot Silva: This is going to be very important for my career but I don’t classify this one so. Overeem is a great athlete and champion and this is going to be a great fight.
Fighters Only: The Dutchman is a good striker, besides being the most heavily-built fighter of the division. What’s his weak point in your view?
Bigfoot Silva. Actually I consider him the most complete striker but not the best. His weak points are part of my game plan but I can’t tell you now (laughs).
Fighters Only: You have been declared the underdog for the upcoming bout. Does it motivate you to surprise the audience again as you did versus Fedor Emelianenko?
Bigfoot Silva: It doesn’t bother me at all. I love to come in booed and to leave the ring applauded. Nothing has been easy in my lifetime and I have become used to this kind of situation. I’m going to train hard to give my best to UFC, my family, country and my fans.
Fighters Only: Many people believe the way for the victory is to look for the takedown and work the bout on the ground.
Bigfoot Silva: This is the best way for sure but the fight begins on the feet and Overeem is a great striker, so I have to be ready and smart on striking.
Fighters Only: Is Overeem’s striking ability a concern? Have you talked to your coach about it?
Bigfoot Silva: We sure have to respect him. After all, he was K-1 champion. But me and Katel Kubs have already spoken a lot and we have planed a good strategy to make him commit mistakes that will make me able to impose my game. After all, this is MMA and not Muay Thai.
Fighters Only: What about Joan Carneiro, what does he say about Overeem’s ground game?
Bigfoot Silva: Jucao has known Overeem since Pride’s epoch. We know he has a great guillotine and a strong ground and pound, but after the last fight I took only two weeks off and I have already been back to train in order to sharppen my skills.
Fighters Only: What comes into your thoughts when you see yourself in the Octagon to fight versus a fighter who was suspended by doping?
Bigfoot Silva: He won’t be clean for sure, I only have to be very well prepared to put on a good fight.
Fighters Only: You have fought Velasquez and have already trained along with Junior dos Santos. How do you see their match and what’s your prediction?
Bigfoot Silva: This is going to be a little different because Cain is likely training a lot not to commit the same mistake again because he has felt the weight of Junior dos Santos’ hand, but I believe in another victory of Cigano because it won’t be easy to take him down and I am sure the great master Luiz Dorea will have mapped a whole game for Junior to knock him out one more time.
Fighters Only: In the last interview you told us that you had been hinted by your manager not to speak about a potential bout with Junior dos Santos, but a win over Overeem will let your near a title shot. How do you deal with this situation? Have you and Dos Santos talked on the possibility to fight in UFC?
Bigfoot Silva: We have never talked about it because nobody can predict the future. When we meet we only tell many stories and laugh so much.
Fighters Only: Jon Jones has affirmed that he intends to go up to the heavyweight division in two years. In your opinion does he have the conditions to get the same success of the light heavyweight class?
Bigfoot Silva: Sure, he is big, strong, technical... he will only have to put on muscular mass on this body.
Fighters Only: Have you and your coaches decided whether the camp will take place at Team Nogueira?
Bigfoot Silva: Next week I’m going to Rio de Janeiro to define where I will do my camp.