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Thread: UFCs Wanderlei Silva eyes February return; Leben, Belfort, Sonnen on hitlist

      
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    sjdrewk
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    Default UFCs Wanderlei Silva eyes February return; Leben, Belfort, Sonnen on hitlist

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    UFCs Wanderlei Silva eyes February return; Leben, Belfort, Sonnen on hitlist
    John Morgan, MMAjunkie.com
    Aug 28, 8:51 pm EDT


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    BOSTON - MMA legend Wander Silva (33-10-1 MMA, 3-5 UFC) may have needed crutches to make his way around this weekend's 2010 UFC Fan Expo Boston, but that doesn't mean he's not already thinking about his next trip to the cage.

    "The Axe Murderer" on Friday told fans at a Fan Expo Q&A session that he was eyeing a return to action as soon as February.

    And while an opponent has not yet been secured for his next fight, Silva said he's got a list of idea in his mind that includes Chris Leben, Vitor Belfort and Chael Sonnen.

    The 34-year-old Silva, who recently underwent surgery on his knee after being forced out of a planned UFC 116 matchup with Yoshihiro Akiyama, says he now feels ready to fight another six years with his newly reconstructed body.

    "I had surgery on my knee," Silva said. "In this last year, I repaired my face, I repaired my knee, and I feel better now. I think I'm going to fight for another six years. I want to fight into my 40s."

    Silva said he's currently targeting a February return date, and he believes Leben, who has openly lobbied to fight the Brazilian at the culmination of a season of "The Ultimate Fighter," would provide a suitable return opponent.

    "I want to fight again in February or March," Silva said. "That's my plans.

    "I saw Leben's fight with Akiyama. It was a great match. He's a real tough guy. I think he's a perfect opponent for my next fight."

    While Silva said he's a fan of Leben's recent work in the octagon, the Brazilian brawler believes he holds a clear advantage over "The Crippler."

    "Respect is outside the octagon," Silva said. "Inside, it doesn't matter who the other guy is.

    "[Leben] won't pass the first round with me."

    After Leben, Silva hopes to revisit a ghost from his past by avenging a 1998 loss to current top middleweight contender Belfort.

    "I want to fight with [Belfort] soon," Silva said. "He's a good opponent, and I know we're going to have a good match. I'm going to try to beat him.

    "Vitor Belfort is a good opponent. I want to fight with him in the future."

    Belfort may be tied up in a title fight in 2011 depending how events in the 185-pound division play out this fall. If that's the case, Silva has another idea in mind: Sonnen.

    "I like to fight with guys like that because it makes more motivation for training," Silva said. "Sometimes you fight a guy that's so respectful. That's good because this is our job. But sometimes when you fight guys that talk a lot, it's great."

    In his debut at 185 pounds this past February, Silva earned a unanimous-decision win over top contender Michael Bisping. That fight followed a one-fight stint as a 195-pound catchweight fighter.

    While Silva looked rejuvenated at 185 pounds, a division that better suits him the modern era of MMA, the MMA legend and former PRIDE champion says there's always one fight at light heavyweight that is worth a return trip to the division: against arch-rival Quinton "Rampage" Jackson.

    "I think it's interesting for the public," Silva said. "I think it's interesting for the UFC. For me, it's OK. I fought at 205 (pounds) my whole life. For sure, if Dana White wants it, I'm back to 205 for a fight with [Jackson] - no problem."

    So for now, Silva will take his time to heal. But while many MMA observers had recently expressed concern that Silva was on the downside of his storied career, the heavy-handed wildman said the opposite it actually true.

    "I was world champion in 2003," Silva said. "Those days were the best days of my career. Now, I think my best days are going to be back soon."


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    Default Re: UFCs Wanderlei Silva eyes February return; Leben, Belfort, Sonnen on hitlist

    Belfort's fighting Yushin Okami as the headline fight at UFC 122 in Germany.

    Sonnen will be getting a rematch against Silva at either the NYE show or the one they're planning for Super Bowl Saturday.

    Leben's dance card is free though.
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    sjdrewk
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    Default Re: UFCs Wanderlei Silva eyes February return; Leben, Belfort, Sonnen on hitlist

    Quote Originally Posted by Pie Traynor View Post
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    Belfort's fighting Yushin Okami as the headline fight at UFC 122 in Germany.

    Sonnen will be getting a rematch against Silva at either the NYE show or the one they're planning for Super Bowl Saturday.

    Leben's dance card is free though.
    For old times sake, at some point I'd like to see him meet Belfort in the ring.

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