The long road for Anderson Silva to return to the Octagon hasn’t been traveled just yet despite the fact that he’s already booked his next fight on Jan. 31 against Nick Diaz. Silva has been out of action since last December when he suffered a gruesome broken leg in his title fight rematch against Chris Weidman.
Silva went from the cage to surgery within hours and began rebuilding the leg that millions saw snap live on television during the fight where he attempted to regain the middleweight belt he held for seven years.
For the last few fights of Silva’s career, he’s been vague about his future and how much longer he had left in the sport, but it seems the broken leg that could have logically forced his hand into retirement actually gave him stronger resolve to get back in action.
"No, it never went through my mind," Silva said on Friday when asked if he contemplating hanging up the gloves after his injury.
Now, just seven months later, Silva is back into full-time training and sparring with his surgically repaired leg holding up stronger than ever as he prepares to fight again in early 2015. The videos of Silva hitting pads and kicking soccer balls have given everyone hope that he will come back with at full strength although the Brazilian legend says he’s not there quite yet.
To tell you the truth, they’re not too happy (I’m coming back) but they respect my wishes and now they’re coping with it
— Anderson Silva
All of the rehabilitation and work he’s been doing have him close to the same place he was before the injury, but by fight time against Nick Diaz he has little doubt he’ll be ready to deliver the same kind of punishment he always did previously without an ounce of hesitation in his mind.
"I’ve been doing a lot of physical therapy and right now (the leg) is at 95 percent and improving. At the day of the fight it’s going to be 100 percent," Silva said.
While there was never a doubt in his own mind that he would get back in the Octagon again, Silva’s own family wasn’t on board with the decision following the injury. Silva has always had a very close-knit relationship with his family, especially his children, and no one was very enthusiastic about him returning to MMA after the incident.
It was just days ago that Silva’s opponent Nick Diaz said that he wouldn’t recommend anybody make their career as a fighter, and the former middleweight king says that opinion is probably shared by anybody’s family who has a loved one competing in the sport.
It’s not easy to see someone you care about get punched, kicked, knocked out or submitted, but his family has reconciled with his decision and will support his latest endeavor just like they have every fight before.
"To tell you the truth, they’re not too happy (I’m coming back) but they respect my wishes and now they’re coping with it," Silva said about his family.
"I don’t think anybody’s family would like to see their (loved one) going to war. With mine, it wouldn’t be different."
As far as his long term goals in the sport, Silva, who just turned 39 in April, isn’t thinking too far beyond this upcoming fight with Diaz, but it seems as if he’s planning on sticking around long past that return bout in January.
With multiple fights still left on his deal, Silva seems ready to honor his contract and the first one back will see him face Diaz in the main event of UFC 183. After that, Silva’s not sure what the future holds, but he’s not opposed to another run at the UFC middleweight title.
It’s not his focus, but Silva wouldn’t mind climbing back up the ladder and competing for the belt he defended for 10 straight fights if that’s where he lands after the Diaz matchup.
"I have another seven fights on my contract and obviously right now it’s not my priority, but it’s not out of the question to fight for the title," Silva said. "Along seven fights if I have the credentials to fight for the title, I’ll more than glad to do it.
"Right now, at this point I just want to feel my legs, walking, my movement, and see how I perform, that’s my main priority."