It could easily be counted on one hand the number of times former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva ever showed emotion toward an opponent before or after a fight.
It took a near loss and a year of hearing Chael Sonnen run his mouth before Silva finally unleashed a threat-laden tirade that put the entire MMA world on its head.
"What I’m going to do inside the Octagon is something that’s going to change the image of the sport," Silva said in 2012. "I’m going to beat his ass like he’s never been beaten before. I’m going to make sure that every one of his teeth are broken, his arms are broken, his legs are broken. He’s not going to be able to walk out of the Octagon by himself. I can guarantee that."
Article continues below ...
Everybody was taken back by Silva’s comments because the only other fight that ever drew that kind of ire out of the Brazilian legend was for his showdown with Vitor Belfort in 2011. It wasn’t so much the words that came out of Silva’s mouth for that fight as much as the weigh-ins, where the champion put on a strange, white mask and immediately got nose-to-nose with his opponent before they had to be separated.
I don’t like to be disrespected as a man. I think you need to have respect as an athlete and as a man. If (Nick Diaz) disrespects me, things are going to happen as they need to happen.
— Anderson Silva
Silva is now approaching his next fight against one of the most notorious trash talkers in all of MMA.
Perennial bad boy Nick Diaz has a well-documented past, checkered with middle fingers flying through the air while painting opponents with expletives like he was Picasso on a rampage. He’s already managed to get into a brawl on national television following a fight he wasn’t even involved in.
Prior to his fight with former UFC champion Frank Shamrock, Diaz walked up and extended both middle fingers and held the pose until cameras stopped flashing. He got former UFC champion B.J. Penn so angry before their fight that the two of them had to be separated. This came after several weeks of both fighters being nothing less than cordial to each other.
Leading up to his fight with Silva in January, Diaz hasn’t had a ton to say about the former champion yet, but their bout is still more than three months away. Even if Diaz is a sweetheart in interviews and press conferences, there’s no telling what he’ll do once he stares Silva in the eye for the first time.
While Silva isn’t looking to have a Jon Jones/Daniel Cormier type brawl when he finally faces Diaz in 2015, he’s also not going to back away from a challenge.
"I’m very easy going. I’m in a radical sport, for a lot of people a very violent sport, but I’m a very easygoing guy. I think my work has nothing to do with my personality, but I don’t like to be disrespected as a man. I think you need to have respect as an athlete and as a man," Silva said.
"If (Diaz) disrespects me, things are going to happen as they need to happen."
It may sound like a thinly veiled threat by Silva, but coming from a fighter who has 22 career wins by knockout or TKO, Diaz may want to listen and leave his middle fingers in his pockets where they belong.