Wanderlei Silva isn't prepared to walk away from mixed martial arts (MMA) just yet.
At the recent UFC on FUEL TV 8 press conference (watch it here), "The Axe Murderer" -- who turns 37 years old in July -- was asked if retirement had crossed his mind in the build up to his main event fight against Brian Stann this weekend (Sat., March 2, 2013).
The Brazilian bomber answered with a brief -- albeit definitive -- statement: "Not yet."
Having competed in MMA for more than 16 years, Silva has been involved in grueling battles all over the world, dominating the now defunct Japan-based Pride FC organization for eight years from the early- to-mid 2000's, during which he held the promotion's Middleweight (205 pounds) for a half-decade.
With a resume that boasts battles against a "Who's Who" of MMA legends such as Quinton Jackson, Mirko Filipovic and Kazushi Sakuraba, among others, under the Pride FC banner, as well as high-profile bouts against Chuck Liddell, Rich Franklin, Cung Le and more since his Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) debut in 2007, Silva has carved out a long, storied career.
However, since the start of his UFC tenure, Silva has struggled, compiling a losing record (3-5) and, in the process, showed visible signs of wear and tear.
Nonetheless, Silva -- who promised a third round "All American" knockout -- plans to keep fighting, holding off retirement plans for the foreseeable future regardless of the outcome of his 205-pound battle against Stann this weekend in Saitama, Japan.
It would be fitting, though, if Silva -- who rose to prominence in the "Land of the Rising Sun" -- scored one last violent finish under the Saitama Super Arena lights. After all, it was under those lights that Silva's legend was born and nurtured, helping catapult the fringe sport into relative popularity thanks to his classic battles and highlight-reel stoppages.
And turning in an award-winning performance for the ages at Stann's expense would just be the cherry on a very legendary cake.
Undoubtedly, it would be the perfect storybook ending to a long and prosperous fight career. One that need not continue further, whether he's willing to admit it now or not, if he can hand roll fantasy into reality on fight night.
Silva would have nothing left to prove.