If you take a look at Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva’s record, it might be surprising to note that he’s already surpassed the two-year mark since his last win inside the Octagon.
The last couple of years have been an up and down ride for Silva as he fell to heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez for a second time in his only bid to capture a UFC title, before returning to put on one of the greatest fights of all time against Mark Hunt.
That fight was marred by a post-fight drug test that revealed Silva had elevated levels of testosterone, and so he was forced to sit out for the next nine months on suspension. Silva returned last September as a heavy favorite against Andrei Arlovski, a fighter he already defeated once, and ended up as the victim of a first-round knockout.
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Silva knows exactly where he’s gone wrong during each hiccup in his career and as he looks back on his last fight with Arlovski, it turns out overconfidence was his undoing.
"First of all, it’s his merit, he got the win and I need to congratulate him for that. I did some things wrong before the fight and during the fight and now I’ve corrected them," Silva told FOX Sports.
"It’s a change in the thought process. I’m not going to fight as if I already have the win and going to the afterparty and all that stuff. I’m not going to pretend as if I’ve already won. That’s not going to happen this fight."
It’s very important to pay attention to Silva’s mentality because as he approaches his next bout against former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir this weekend at UFC Fight Night: Bigfoot vs. Mir, it would be easy for him to think he’s facing a fighter well past his prime.
Mir is on the worst losing streak of his career. The Las Vegas native has dropped his past four bouts, which led to questions about retirement or release from the UFC.
Following the debacle against Arlovski, Silva refuses to look at Mir as anything less than the champion he was just a few years ago. It was a harsh lesson in reality when Silva underestimated Arlovski. He won’t do that again.
"I’m going to fight Frank as if this is a title fight and he was the No. 1-ranked fighter. That’s the way I will fight him," Silva said.
It’s impossible not to think about the prospect of this matchup landing on the ground. While Silva has worked tirelessly on his striking, as evidenced by his fight against Hunt in 2013, he’s well aware that Mir is a submission specialist and probably one of the most dangerous Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu fighters in the history of the sport.
Silva, who is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt himself, has no problem testing himself against Mir on the ground if that’s where the fight lands. As a matter of fact, he invites it.
"A fight’s a fight. You never know where it could go, but I’m very comfortable on the ground," Silva said. "I’ve fought a lot of great jiu-jitsu names, I fought Fabricio Werdum, and I’ve never been submitted. So if I have to fight five rounds on the ground, I’ll fight five rounds on the ground."
Silva isn’t oblivious to the fact that he’s 0-2 with one no-contest in his past three fights, so he knows the pressure is on him to go out and get a win against Mir. Just like the Arlovski fight, Silva will enter the Octagon as a heavy favorite, but this time he’s not walking in believing a victory already has been secured.
He needs to put Mir away in devastating fashion and get back to where he was just a couple of fights ago.
"It’s extremely important for me to fight well and get a win," Silva said. "To come back to where I was when I fought Mark Hunt."