It's not the beer talking.
Nope, former UFC middleweight champion Evan Tanner (32-6) is off the sauce and is back in the gym training. And, in a recent interview with RandomSpeak.com, the 36-year-old self taught mixed martial artist reveals that he can do what no man has been able to do thus far in the UFC:
Defeat reigning 185-pound champion Anderson Silva.
Here's a snip from Tanner on Silva:
"... nobody fights him [Silva] right. Nobody knows how to fight him. They all come in with the completely wrong approach. I know the exact way to beat Anderson; I know the right kind of movement, and the way to beat him."
And on his prospects if he does return to the Octagon:
"I've never trained year-round, and I think I'm infamous for the amount of drinking I've done. Those two things have had a serious effect on what I've been able to do in the ring. I've put the beer down and I'm going to be training full-time, year-round for the first time in my career. The sky's the limit. Who knows what I can do? If I could win a world championship training 2 or 3 months a year, what could I do if I'm training full-time? If I want the belt, I'll take it. I don't mean that arrogantly, I'm just confident."
However, Tanner has not resumed training to return to the UFC. On the contrary, he's started a foundation — or a fight house — to help out disadvantaged athletes and fighters.
Here's his take on the initiative:
"The house is big. I can fit a lot of guys in here, maybe 12 to 15. I want the foundation's focus to be the disadvantaged, and the "at risk". Disadvantaged can mean different things; it can refer to those who are financially disadvantaged. It can also refer to those who are disadvantaged due to a lack of facilities and proper coaches and trainers. The other focus will be those who are at risk. That can mean those who have substance abuse issues, or those who, because of lack of other opportunities, are at risk of becoming involved with drugs and crime. The house would provide structure and discipline, and opportunity. It would help the guys develop self-respect and respect for others. It would engender a sense of belonging, a sense of brotherhood or family. It would be a good start towards helping them be better men."
Tanner was victorious in his last fight at UFC 59 in April 2006, defeating Justin Levens via triangle choke in the first round. He has mentioned in the past that UFC matchmaker Joe Silva still wants him onboard.
Whether or not he will ever return to the Octagon, however, seems to be up to Tanner. And, after following his journey on MySpace and on his Web site, I think it's safe to say that even he doesn't know the final destination.
Certainly, a fight with Silva does not appear to be in the cards anytime soon.