Anderson Silva needs no introduction. He is arguably the best mixed martial arts fighter on the planet.
With a record-breaking nine consecutive UFC wins to his credit (and counting), he has been as dominant as any fighter in the history of the sport during his reign.
Recently however, his showings against Patrick Cote and Thales Leites have been the subject of criticism from fans, media and even the UFC management.
In both match-ups, Silva appeared content being cautious, counter striking and staying mistake free.
As a result of his less-than-spectacular performances, the UFC has paired him up against a guy who likes nothing better than to get in your face and force you to engage.
That man is former UFC light heavyweight champion Forrest Griffin who will take on Silva in the main event at UFC 101 on August 8.
It will be the second trip to the light heavyweight division for Silva.
"The Spider" took some time out of his busy UFC 101 preparations to answer a few questions regarding his recent fights, Lyoto Machida, Forrest Griffin and his uncertain future in MMA.
Check it out:
Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com ): I want to go back to UFC 97 for a second. A lot of people including Dana White were critical of your fight against Thales Leites. Dana went as far as to say he was "embarrassed" by your performance. What goes through your head when you hear Dana say something like that after one of your fights?
Anderson Silva: Of course I want to please the fans and Dana White. I feel I did my job right. I want to focus on my next fight and on training harder for now.
Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com ): Did the Leites fight go like you had anticipated? Were you satisfied with your performance?
Anderson Silva: I followed the game plan that I had trained. It’s not always possible to please all the fans, but I know that I did my job right.
Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com ): Some critics out there feel like you may lack motivation or that you have lost your killer instinct at this juncture in his career. How do you respond to those claims?
Anderson Silva: I haven’t lost my motivation. I am still very motivated to put on great fights and keep my belt.
Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com ): You’re a long time champion, undefeated in the UFC, and a big name in the sport. Do you feel any burden to be cautious or defensive in the octagon because you know you have a lot to lose at this point?
Anderson Silva: Being the champion has added a lot of responsibilities, but that is part of the job.
Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com ): Recently, Wanderlei Silva has been vocal about you in the media saying you’re "too cocky" and that "war is declared" against you. Is there bad blood between you two that needs to be resolved?
Anderson Silva: Anyone can say whatever they want to say, it doesn’t affect me. I am still training as always.
Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com ): Your next fight will be against Forrest Griffin at UFC 101 at 205 pounds. This will be your second fight at this weight. How is the 205-pound Anderson Silva different from the 185-pound version?
Anderson Silva: I feel comfortable fighting at the 205 pound division, but I still want to focus on defending my belt at 185 pounds.
Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com ): Where is your UFC 101 camp taking place at?
Anderson Silva: I have been training in Rio (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) with my team.
Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com ): Who are some of the fighters and coaches you will be working with during camp to help you prepare?
Anderson Silva: Rafael "Feijao," the Nogueira brothers, Andre Galvao, among others.
Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com ): What do you feel is Griffin’s biggest weakness?
Anderson Silva: Forrest Griffin is a tough fighter with a lot of heart but like everyone he has his weak spots. It’s going to be a great fight.
Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com ): How do you see this fight playing out in your head and what is your official prediction for the fight?
Anderson Silva: I don’t know. I can’t predict it. We will have to wait until August 8.
Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com ): Your teammate Lyoto Machida earned his belt with an incredible performance against Rashad Evans at UFC 98. What were your thoughts on his performance?
Anderson Silva: Lyoto is an incredible fighter and we are all very proud of him. This is really the Machida Karate era. I believe he will keep the light heavyweight belt for a long time.
Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com ): Are you officially done fighting at 205 for good (after the Griffin fight) now that Machida has the belt?
Anderson Silva: I don’t know what will happen in the future. My main focus is to defend my 185 pound title. Lyoto and I are friends and I feel that he really deserves the belt. I have no intention in fighting for the 205 pound title.
Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com ): Who at 185 pounds in the UFC would you still like to fight or is there anyone outside the UFC you’ve seen from a distance and always wanted to fight?
Anderson Silva: I would love to fight my clone one day.
Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com ): If Georges St. Pierre beats Thiago Alves at UFC 100 and you are able to defeat Forrest Griffin at UFC 101 would you be open to challenging St. Pierre? Does that fight interest you at all?
Anderson Silva: I train to fight the best but it is up to Dana White and the UFC to decide that.
Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com ): Do you still plan on retiring when your contract is fulfilled, likely in 2010 around your 35th birthday?
Anderson Silva: I don’t know yet what will happen. I haven’t made any definite plans.
Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com ): If you do retire is it still your desire to get back into boxing and subsequently pursue a match-up with Roy Jones Jr.?
Anderson Silva: It is a dream of mine but I don’t know what will happen.
Derek Bolender is a staff writer for InsideFights.com. He is also syndicated at FoxSports.com and CNNSI.com. Follow him at Twitter.com/DerekMMAwriter and on Facebook. Look for future articles from him on MMAmania.com.