Physically, Anderson Silva is fine 10 months after breaking his leg in gruesome fashion against Chris Weidman. Mentally? Not so much.
Silva is seeing a psychologist to help him clear the mental hurdle of having his fibula and tibia broken during a leg kick attempt in the middleweight title fight last December, he told Brazil’s Fantastico (translated by MMA Fighting). The former champion and all-time great meets Nick Diaz at UFC 183 on Jan. 3.
"I’ve worked with a psychologist so I can get rid of the ghosts of those horrible moments of that fight, when I had that accident," Silva said. "I’m a little apprehensive in training. I know I can execute the movement, but I end up not doing it for fear."
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Silva has been cleared by doctors to train and said his leg is at "91 percent." Health-wise, he is fine.
"I feel no pain at all," Silva said. "My strength is back because I’m back to training. The hardest part is self-confidence, to kick again as I used to."
After Weidman checked the kick and Silva fell to the canvas screaming, he was rushed to the hospital for immediate surgery. A titanium rod was placed into his leg, connecting the bone, and screws were put in to secure the rod. The photos and videos of his rehab started almost immediately. Doctors predicted Silva would be able to fight again within a year and that has essentially come true.
I’ve worked with a psychologist so I can get rid of the ghosts of those horrible moments of that fight, when I had that accident. I’m a little apprehensive in training. I know I can execute the movement, but I end up not doing it for fear.
Silva, 39, will now return to Brazil to complete his training camp in Rio de Janeiro. Typically, he has done his camps in Los Angeles ahead of recent UFC fights.
"I feel better training in Brazil," Silva said. "And, so I can be at my 100 percent to return to fighting, I’d rather train in Brazil."
As far as a rematch with Weidman, Silva is uninterested at this time. He’s no longer hunting for the belt he held onto for seven years. "The Spider" is currently the greatest champion in UFC history with 16 consecutive victories in the organization and 10 title defenses, both records.
"I’m over this thing of being champion, having the title," Silva said. "The truth is, there will only be one Ayrton Senna, there will only be one Pele, and there will only be one Anderson Silva, so whoever saw me (as champion), saw me. Who haven’t seen me (as champion), won’t see it. In a way you’ll see me (fight again), but not for the belt, that thing of being champion again. I don’t have patience for this. I think I’m closer to retirement every day."
That doesn’t sound like a confident man heading into a bout with a very dangerous fighter in Nick Diaz. But what Silva says to the media and how he actually feels are sometimes very far apart.
With the leg injury, though, it seems he is having a rather normal reaction.
"Yeah, I won’t get hurt," Silva said. "I know I won’t get hurt, but fear is natural. I don’t want to feel that pain ever again. No way."