Wanderlei Silva has bounced in between fighting and being in legal trouble for the last three years of his career, but lately the MMA legend has managed to pull himself out of the negative MMA spotlight and put himself in the position to regain his glory and former status by almost beginning where he started working for the former Pride owner Nobuyuki Sakakibara. Sure alot of MMA fans have been entertained by his former heavy metal infused rants on youtube and slightly over the top accusations, but even with all of that he managed to get a grip on his career direction relatively fast.
“I had a meeting with Nobuyuki Sakakibara, and he’s super interested in bringing me back to Japan, he said the Japanese are anxious to see me compete again. We’re also flirting with Bellator,” he said with a laugh. “They want to make a deal together so I can fight in Japan and here in the United States, and I would fight for both promotions. I’m negotiating an exhibition fight in Rizin on April 17. They offered me a jiu-jitsu match, two versus two. It would be Team Wanderlei, Andre Dida and I, against a team from Japan. I’m also negotiating a tournament in Japan, in which I would fight in September and come back in December for two fights in one night. That’s the plan for 2016.”
The last time we were hearing about Wanderlei he had just had his lifetime ban reduced to 3 years by the Nevada Athletic Commission but still plans on fighting way before May 2017. If he is given the chance to fight in Japan he will be able to technically circumvent the NACs decision regardless of what they say or decide. He stated about the Japanese owned promotion :
“I really want to fight again in Japan,” he added. “The Japanese promotion created Wanderlei Silva… I ended my career a while ago for disgust, not because I couldn’t do it physically or mentally, but for disgust. But I think this time off made me really like it again, and I’m really happy that I’m feeling this desire to fight again. Like I said, I’m in negotiation to come back to fighting in Japan and I really want big challenges.”
If that’s the case then he will have a chance to face off against another MMA legend in Fedor Emelianenko bringing even more credibility and spotlight to the organization as they look to draw eyes away from the UFC on occasion. Wanderlei Silva hasn’t fought in 3 years due to his own self imposed retirement, but sizes himself up to Fedor Emelianenko respectfully :
“There’s a possibility of fighting Fedor, who is an opponent I would really like to fight. I’m not just talking, but can’t be the first one, right?” said “The Axe Murderer”. “Now that I haven’t fought in two years, I can’t get him right away. I need to do some fights first, get my rhythm back, and when the promotion thinks it’s time and I feel I’m in a good rhythm, I would really want to test myself against him, for sure. I’ve fought the best in the world but him. I would really like to test myself against him. I don’t have anything against Fedor, but I would like to test myself and see how it goes.”
But in all reality, how likely is it that Wanderlei Silva who is a legend in the MMA community and especially in Japan gets the fight against Emelianenko when they do have the option of Muhhamed ‘King Mo’ Lawal also as an option regardless of not having the status of icon in Japan like Silva does? There’s no denying MMA fans will be willing to watch Silva fight in any capacity especially in a Pride analogue, but can he still be the same ‘Axe Murderer’ the promotion and the fans need by then?