Anderson Silva, one of the greatest to compete in the cage, says he thinks he has fought in mixed martial arts for the final time.
The former longtime UFC middleweight champion told ESPN’s Ariel Helwani in an interview published Wednesday that he likely is done with MMA following his release from the UFC and that he knew his bout with Uriah Hall in October would be his final contest in the sport.
“I think MMA for me is done,” Silva told Helwani. “Because it’s hard to train MMA. It’s hard to stay training in a good level because you hurt yourself a lot. Now I just try to enjoy. I don’t need to prove nothing for anybody. I just try to enjoy every single moment I fight in different sports. And that’s it.”
Silva, 46, will still compete in other combat sports, he told Helwani. The Brazilian legend is already booked to fight Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in a boxing match June 19 in Guadalajara, Mexico. But no more MMA, he said.
“Maybe my next challenge is jiu-jitsu — gi or no gi,” Silva told Helwani. “Just enjoy the moment. The whole martial arts.”
Silva (34-11, 1 NC) is widely regarded as one of the greatest fighters in the history of MMA. He held the UFC middleweight title for nearly seven years, from 2006 to 2013. “The Spider” holds UFC records for longest title reign (2,457 days) and longest winning streak (16). Silva, a resident of Los Angeles, has the most finishes ever in UFC title fights (nine), and most consider him the best middleweight to ever grace the cage. He brought a flair and innate ability to knock out opponents that had never been seen before.
On Oct. 31, Hall beat Silva by fourth-round TKO. UFC president Dana White said going into that bout that it would be Silva’s last in UFC. Silva, who had just one win since 2013, agreed and asked for his UFC release so he could compete in other combat sports. The promotion granted that request in November.
Immediately after the fight with Hall, Silva was getting calls from MMA promotions in Japan to compete, he told Helwani. But Silva said he is “finished [with] this part of [his] life.”
“I’m lucky because every time I fight MMA, I’m training hard and I put my heart and my real affection inside the cage,” Silva said.