MMA Sports magazine


interviewed Ed Preuss for MMA Sports
photo courtesy of Tom Casino/EliteXC

Standing 6í4Ē you certainly need to look up when talking to Antonio Pezao Silva. With only one loss on his almost perfect MMA record, the Brazilian giant from Paraíba (Northeasterís city of Brazil) shared his hard times in England and moments of joy. He talks about the future, how much he looks forward at a chance to fight Russian Fedor Emelianenko and how much he avoids a confrontation with his personal friend Rodrigo Minotauro. Get to know a little more about the American Top Team fighter during this exclusive interview with MMA Sports magazine.

MMA Sports: Tell me about your training at American Top Team?
Antonio Silva: It has been over one year I lived in the United States, training at American Top Team. My manager Alex Davis invited me to join the team and I am glad. We are a complete gym, with a great structure. We have it all, all kinds of training. We have a Wrestling specialist, Boxing, Striker and also we learn Jiu-Jitsu techniques with master Ricardo Libório, who sometimes is like a father for us. I consider American Top Team as the best place for a real champion to be born.

MMA Sports: Tell me more about American Top Team. Why do you think training in there is so different?
Antonio Silva: I believe everything spins around friendship and organization. We care about each other and there is mutual respect. We do not care about how much the other made in the fight or if one of us gets more attention from the media and fans. About the organization, we do have a tight schedule and we take it really serious. So, in my opinion this is the difference between American Top Team and other academies.

MMA Sports: So, what is next for you?
Antonio Silva: Well, I do have a fight scheduled for this July 26, at EliteXC, and it is for the belt.

MMA Sports: If you could choose your opponent, who would be?
Antonio Silva: Well, if I could choose, it would be somebody good, like top ten fighters rank. I have been waiting in line to join this select group and my goal is to see myself in the top three rank.

MMA Sports: There are some awesome Brazilian fighters in this division like Rodrigo Minotauro. In case you fight him, how it would be?
Antonio Silva: Well, this fight has never crossed my mind! Rodrigo Minotauro is a training partner and more that that. He is a personal friend. Iíve faced a bad situation in England with my wife and daughter and he was the one who offered me shelter and took me out of there. I would rather quit fighting than face Rodrigo Minotauro. I wouldnít be able to close my fist to attack him.

MMA Sports: Could you tell us about this bad situation in England?
Antonio Silva: I was hired to fight five times in England by Brazilian Mario Sucata, who gave me chance to debut abroad. Everything was fine until I got a chance to fight in Japan, at Heroís. So my old managers got really upset and decided to mess with me, not paying for my last fight. They didnít pay for the flight tickets and I had no budget to return to Brazil. That happened because I met Aras and signed to fight in Japan. So, was in that time I counted on Aras and Rodrigo Minotauro sheltered me and my family and I am forever grateful.

MMA Sports: And about Fedor Emelianenko? Would you like to fight him now?
Antonio Silva: Which heavyweight wouldnít? I was very anxious when he left M-1 and rumors said he would fight at Pro Elite. I finally saw us fighting in the ring. But then he signed with other events and this dream got a little farther. However I have an opened contract and in the meantime I donít have the chance to fight Fedor, Iíll train more and more and fight to get more experience.

MMA Sports: Have you thought of how you would defeat him? Have you thought about a strategy?
Antonio Silva: He is the champion and he is a complete fighter He already showed this before. He proved he is a great fighter on the top and also on the ground. So, I havenít though about a specific strategy to beat him. It all depends on the fight. As I said before, I am focused in the heavyweight division and I believe someday Iíll have a chance to face him.

MMA Sports: As soon you arrived in United States doctors detected in you some tumorÖ what was that?
Antonio Silva: Yes, in fact my body produces high levels of some hormone called ďGHĒ, which means growth hormone. So I had no chances but operate and remove the benign tumor, which was responsible for this hormone. Right now I feel good and only stayed out of training for a few months.

MMA Sports: So, lots of people buy hormone to develop muscles and grow and you did the opposite?
Antonio Silva: Yes, kind of funny, right? I wish I was like everybody and needed to increase my physical with hormones, it would be less expensiveÖ but I am glad the surgery was good and after that I have already fought twice and I am living the time of my life.

MMA Sports: How is life in US now? Is it true your wife is pregnant again?
Antonio Silva: In the beginning everything was very hard, pretty much because of the language. But with time things get right, and I am able to feel like homeÖ you know the city you live in. My daughter is already speaking English and it is true. My wife is pregnant again and she will give me the second joy of my life.

MMA Sports: You said your daughter is already speaking English... and you?
Antonio Silva: Oh God! I have to say itís harder for me. My little daughter says few words in English and I have been here over one year and I am still trying! I confess I do need to practice more, but my time is short out the gym and I rather stay with my family. But I know it is important and thatís why when I am at the gym I try to develop my English skills.

MMA Sports: So, you weight 127kg... is it hard to lose weight to fight at heavyweight division?
Antonio Silva: Not really. It isnít a sacrifice to a heavyweight to lose 7kg. In my last fight I did it really well. I just wore regular clothes and did the habitual sauna. So I had no trouble to lose weight. Who knows someday I might be able to fight at the 93kg division.

Really? Is that possible for somebody like you?
Antonio Silva: André Benkei says it is possible, but I was just joking around. I said it would be my next goal and my friends freaked out (laughs). I am focused in the heavyweight division and I feel like IĎll do a lot in this division during my career.

MMA Sports: Tell us about your past. What you use to do when you lived in Paraíba?
Antonio Silva: In Paraíba I used to work as a car salesperson. I started as an assistant, but then people gave me a chance and I became a salesman. Then I did some bank security. I used to carry the money bags inside the safe car. Thank God Iíve never had to react to any robbery when I was working.

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