Photo of Wanderlei Silva by Esther Lin for MMA Fighting.
With 16 years in the fight game, Wanderlei Silva has been around the mixed martial arts (MMA) block a time or three. So when the former Pride FC Middleweight champion gives his observation on a contest, usually, one is inclined to listen because, after all, he does know a thing or three about the hurt business.
After Mauricio Rua was criticized for his lack of cardio in his UFC on Fox 4 main event fight against Brandon Vera on Aug. 4, 2012, "The Axe Murderer" was quick to defend his long-time friend and training partner, saying that because "Shogun" was trying to knock Vera's head off from the opening bell is the simple reason his former Chute Boxe stablemate tired in the later rounds.
Though Rua eventually got the all important win over "The Truth" via fourth round technical knockout, all the buzz seemed to focus on the reoccurring cardio issues of the 2005 Pride FC Grand Prix winner.
Speaking via Tatame, Silva gave his thoughts on Rua's performance against Vera and touched on the upcoming light heavyweight title fight between Jon Jones and Dan Henderson, as well as shed some light on his next bout inside the Octagon.
Check it out:
" I've seen many people criticize Shogun's gas, but what people don't understand is this: Shogun was trying to rip Vera's head off since the first second. He wasn't missing any punches. He punched the guy hard. He got very close to knocking Vera out in almost all rounds. The power of his punches were amazing and it demands a lot of energy, so anyone who does a fight like that, especially a guy the size of Shogun... Shogun is a 220lbs guy. He fights at the 205lbs, but he's a 220lbs guy. He's almost like a heavyweight. He's a big guy, so automatically if you fight like that and being that size you're going to get tired. We have to stress out Vera surprised us and a lot, he made Shogun's win look bigger. Honestly, I thought Shogun would win easier, I thought it was an easy fight. Vera came really well prepared for this fight and Vera's a big guy, bigger than Shogun and Shogun is already a big guy. He's a heavyweight who came to fight Shogun. He made Shogun's victory big. I'm a fan here and I loved the fight, it was really exciting. Shogun went for it, punched the guy over and over and he handled the punishment and also punched Shogun. Shogun came back and punished him. He came a little dangerous but not a lot. He came back and knocked the guy out in almost 20 minutes of fight, punching a lot to knock him out. It was a really good performance of Shogun's. The way I'm standing, it was a "regular" tiring fight, due to what happened."
Current 205-pound champion Jon Jones will look to defend his title against seasoned veteran Dan Henderson at UFC 151 on Sept. 1, 2012 and Silva, for one, knows the danger that the power punching of "Hendo" possesses that could give "Bones" trouble:
"I guess it's a very interesting fight. Dan Henderson has always been a dangerous guy, he's coming from one of the best sequence of wins in high level in all times. There's no one with victories like that: Fedor, Feijao, Shogun and another great one. He is coming from a good sequence. Can you imagine if he does that with Jon Jones? Lands that right powerful hand. So, anything can happen, but Jon Jones - for his reach and since he is also on a great streak - play Dan Henderson around. I wouldn't be surprised in case it happened. Dan Henderson is a dangerous guy, though."
After coming up short on the judges' scorecards against Rich Franklin at UFC 147, Silva isn't ready to hang his gloves up just yet and says he already has his next fight signed, sealed and delivered, but he just can't reveal who it is at the moment:
"Next fight is close, but unfortunately I can't tell you already. I can't give you the name nor the date, but it's been handled."
Rua has never been one to "take it easy" and "coast" to a victory.
On the contrary, the Brazilian bomber has always looked for the finish and put on entertaining bouts and as a result, has made him a world-wide fan favorite in the process. Perhaps Silva hit the nail on the head with his assessment on Rua that his aggressive head-hunting habits is in fact the reason he seems to get fatigued.
But is that necessarily a bad thing?
What's your take Maniacs, do you agree with "The Axe Murderer's" views on "Shogun's" performance? Is his aggressive, push the pace fighting style the reason behind his cardio issues?
Who do you think UFC matchmakers booked the long-time veteran with for his next outing?