Part 1 of
By Eduardo Alonso
Originally published in the
May 2001 issue of Full Contact Fighter
March 25th, at the Saitama Super Arena. That night in Japan, Vanderlei Silva stunned the world with an impressive quick win over the Japanese sensation and Pride poster boy Kazushi Sakuraba. With merciless knees and punches, Vanderlei gave Sakuraba all he could handle for the first time in the Japanese hero’s career.
That wild and unforgettable fight will surely leave a mark on the mixed martial arts world forever, but more than that, it will give birth a new era for the fighting game-mainly a new style of fighting. At least that’s what Vanderlei Silva expects. After his impressive win over Sakuraba, Vanderlei is now right at the top of the middleweight division, next to some great fighters like UFC champion Tito Ortiz.
Things didn’t come easily for Vanderlei; he has trained long and hard to get to this point in his career. Vanderlei started his career very early, and fought in all sorts of events, starting with his Muay Thai background, and continuing in small NHB events in Brazil. Knockouts was always part of Vanderlei’s fighting style, since he was 13 years of age, when he got his first knockout in a local Muay Thai competition. From his NHB debut, at the Brazilian Vale Tudo Championships, going on through his IVC fights and culminating with his win at the last Pride, Vanderlei has come a long way in his career, and is now ready to go even further.
With an already great fighting record that includes wins all over the world in events such as the UFC, Pride and the old Brazilian IVC events, Vanderlei doesn’t pick opponents and he truly fears no one. In this long conversation, the "Axe murderer", as he is known in the USA, talks about all kinds of subjects, from his childhood to his fighting days at Pride, and of course his amazing win over Sakuraba. Learn now a bit more about this amazing fighter, who is not only aggressive and fearless, but also very soft-spoken and very kind to his fans. Ladies and Gentleman, FCF presents to you, Vanderlei Silva!
FCF: People who know you well know that you are a family man, fans who have seen you at work in the ring might not have any indication this. Who do you live with nowadays? Are you single? Tell us a bit about yourself so the American public can get to know you a bit better.
FCF: Everybody already knows you from your NHB fights, but in fact you started in Muay Thai. How did your interest in martial arts start?
FCF: Were you an active kid in your childhood? Did you use to fight a lot?
FCF: Muay Thai is considered one of the most sacrificing martial arts in terms of training. Was it difficult to keep on training in the beginning? When did you really start to take Muay Thai seriously?
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February 24, 2001
MAIN EVENT FIGHTS