Antonio Silva Respects UFC Champ Cain Velasquez, But “There’s No Superheroes In This Sport”
Sees “Heavy Hands” as Key to Victory at UFC 160
By Kelsey Mowatt
If you caught Antonio Silva’s first encounter with Cain Velasquez, then you may be having a tough time envisioning the Brazilian fighter ending the reign of the heavyweight champ at UFC 160. After all, Velasquez promptly put the man known as “Big Foot” on his back at UFC 146 last May, and hammered down strikes that left Silva coated in blood. The fight was over in less than four minutes.
While the agility, wrestling and striking skills of Velasquez are well documented, and thus he is widely considered to be one of the planet’s best pound-for-pound fighters, so is the power of Silva. The 33 year-old veteran reminded the MMA world of his stopping prowess by taking out Alistair Overeem at UFC 156 in February, and Silva believes his massive hands are the key to victory against Velasquez.
“Comparing my style of fighting to Cain’s style of fighting, you know, I would have to be born again to become faster than Cain Velasquez,” Silva said through an interpreter this week during a media call to promote the May 25th, UFC 160 card. “I’ve got 30 pounds on him. He’s going to be faster than me. So I need to work with what I have, and what I have is very, very heavy hands.”
“I’m going to need to keep my hands healthy, and heavy to go in there, and I’m sure the first punch that I really land he’s going to go down.” added Silva, who also stopped Travis Browne last October. “I have a lot of respect for Cain Velasquez. I think he’s an incredible fighter and I respect him as a person, but I’m very confident in myself and I feel very good going into this fight.”
Silva’s recent run has clearly emboldened him for good reason, and the heavyweight maintains that Velasquez will face a different “Big Foot” later this month.
“The main thing is, in our first fight I was nervous and I was anxious,” Silva said. “I’ve replaced those emotions; now I’m calm and I’m driven. I really want this.”
Of course, since Silva and Velasquez met the first time, the latter has gone on to score a one-sided decision win over Junior dos Santos to reclaim his position as the planet’s best heavyweight. As a result, there’s been no shortage of speculation as to whether Velasquez and dos Santos will fight for a third time heading into UFC 160, despite the fact both men will face dangerous heavyweights at the event (dos Santos will fight K-1 vet Mark Hunt).
“I like when people underestimate me,” said Silva. “It’s nice. I get to go out there and show them wrong. There’s no superheroes in this sport. No one is invincible, and I’ve been putting in a lot of hard work for the last nine weeks. I’ve been preparing myself, and I’m very confident that I’m going to have my arm raised on May 25th.”
Stay tuned to Full Contact Fighter for more coverage on UFC 160, which will be hosted by the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.