Bigfoot: "If Fedor returned, heād have lost his eye"
Antonio āBig Footā Silva has suffered a lot during his whole life. After facing some problems with his visa on Europe, cancelled fights, doping issues and lack of chances, the athlete reach the top of the world last Saturday, on the quarterfinals of Strikeforceās Grand Prix. Fedor Emelianenko was no longer considered to be the best of the division, but the Brazilian still consider him to be the best ever. On an exclusive chat with TATAME, Big Foot commented the fight, revealed the request he did to Fedor after the fight and betted on what may happen on the tournament, making himself free to help on the trainings of Fabricio Werdum for his bout with Alistair Overeem. Check it:
Did everything go like you were expecting it to? Was the game plan to strike on the first round, than take him down and work on top of him?
Basically the game plan was this, but I wasnāt supposed to stand for so long on the first round, I had to do that for two minutes and then try to take him down, but I felt comfortable there. He punched me few times and I could tell they werenāt that strong, but I absorbed it quite well. When the second round started, (Andre) Benkei looked at me and asked: ādo you want to win? Isnāt it your dream to be here? So, go there and beat him upā. Then I entered there focused to take him down, I could use my ground and pound, which was what Iāve trained the most.
Then, why do you think you couldnāt take him down on the first round?
I felt ok fighting standing, my head was good and I know that Iād get the takedown if I tried it. We also set a game plan of putting him against the grid and spend some time there, since Iām much heavier than him. I only didnāt take him down before, but the Iāve set the game plan and I used it.
Do you think the doctors were right to finish the fight?
Many said he couldāve returned for round number three, but Iāll tell you somethingā¦ Because of Fedorās heart and his attitude as a professional, heād have returned for sure, but he hadnāt conditions to fight, because if he returned, heād have lost his eye, because Iād keep trying to hit it all the time. The doctors are there for it, to talk with the athlete and donāt let him to get hurt. I was at the hotel and I say him getting there around 5am, and I think he has broken something because his face was pretty bad, he had a black eye. For the athlete he is, heād have returned, but it maybe would have complicated things for him, because I was ready to fight round number three, I went into tears and a the entire story went through my mind: where I come from, where I am now, I had to hold so the tears wouldnāt go down. I got puffy, but I was crazy to fight the third round.
Do you believe the weight gap mattered the most or your technique?
After the fight, many people talked about this weight gap, but no fighter is obligated to fight if he doesnāt want it. If you accepted it, you know who your opponent is, the weight and the game he plays, and his manager accepted it. Fedor fought Zulu, Brett Rogers, Jong Man Choi and even heavier ones, but my work is different. I donāt believe on this weight gap thing, even because heās fought many GPs without weight limit in Japan. Many people like to say heās doneā¦ Heās only 34, heās young and has great potential, heās been beating up everybody he faces for 10 years. Only because he lost twice now people say heās done. And the credits he earned? Theyāre gone?
Do you still consider Fedor to be the greatest heavyweight of all times on MMA?
Youāve been through many things during your career. Youāve had some visa issues in England and Minotauro helped you, youāve had the doping thing on EliteXC, when you won the belt and the event went out of businessā¦ How is it like to fight again and shine?
Godās ways can seem messy sometimes, everything happens when it has to. I was supposed to fight Fedor a long time ago, but he didnāt accept it at the time, claiming I didnāt have a big name back then. I believe my moment was this and my mind is completely different now, because Iāve gone though much Iām more experienced now. I believe that if that fight had happened before the outcome wouldnāt be the same.
You were the underdog for this fight agianst Fedor, the favorite to win the Grand Prix. How do you see it now? Do you consider yourself to be the favorite to become the champion?
Iāve said before that if Iād win this fight Iād be the champion of this GP, it was like it already was the finale, but I canāt forget all fighters Iāll still have to face on this GP, and theyāre top ones. Now Werdum will fight Overeem, and the winner will fave me, and any of them would be a very tough opponent. But I think now Iām the favorite. This win gave me extra motivation to win and Iāll train exactly this much or more for my next fight.
You and Werdum had become great friends. How itād be like to confront him on the semifinals?
Me and Werdum laugh a lot, we jokes about everybody, I canāt even describe how great he is. Heās a very nice guy, we get along well and we party every time we see each other. Weāve lunched, had dinner, went shopping together, when I was on my room I called him to run at the gym, but weāre professionals. I have my family, two daughters, and he has his wife, his daughter, and if we fight each other itās for the business. We canāt not fight each other just because weāre friends. Two friends play against each other at soccer, even two brothers, even father and son and it wonāt be any different on MMA because it a sport like the others. If we have to do it, then weāll go out for pizzas, like it happened now, and I guarantee you that the one whoās on the finale will have the otherās support, praying and cheering so that Brazil is the champion. We want Brazil to get the first place, and thatās what matters.
Do you consider helping Werdum for his fight against Overeem?
If Werdum needs me, Iāll go there and help him. A training is a training, and today weāre professionals, and you end up fighting your training partner, thatās how it works. Of course I canāt know his game plan for when we fight each other, but when he fights other guy I can help him. If he needs it, Iāll help him and then we fight, the training is different than the fight.
What message would you like to tell the fans that cheered for you? What they can hope of you on this GP?
Iād like to thank for the prayers of you all, to TATAME, the good vibes that you sent me. The ones who didnāt, itās ok too. We have to earn peopleās trust, and I think Iām getting it. Many people didnāt cheer for me, Iām sure many will start now and you can hope I train more and give my best. With Godās help, Iāll be on this finale to win this GPās title to Brazil.