Career longevity is hard to attain when you get punched in the face for a living.
It's even harder when your boss, who also happens to run the world's largest mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion, wouldn't mind seeing you retire off a technical knockout (TKO) win.
Usually it's the other way around.
These are the types of hurdles famed Brazilian "Axe Murderer" Wanderlei Silva must continue leaping over to maintain his relevancy in the world of combat sports. His next challenge will present itself this Saturday night (June 23, 2012) in the form of fellow aging athlete Rich Franklin, who cuts to 190-pounds for his trip to the Estádio Jornalista Felipe Drummond in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
Wandy explains the "pressure" to win to MMA Weekly after the jump.
"I have a lot of pressure in all the fights. Right now, all the fights I need to prove I can still fight. All the time I need to prove, and I’m going to prove it again that I’m still a really good fighter and can put on a really good show. After you’re like 32, 33, 35, 37 years old you’re going to have these questions. When Jon Jones is 35 or 36 years (old), guys are going to talk to him ‘hey what do you think are you still going to fight or not?’ It’s going to happen with everybody. It’s normal, we need to prove that we can still fight. I’m going to keep going while my body feels good. I feel good and I love to fight, and when you’ve been inside the cage with like 20,000 people cheering for you, that’s an incredible sensation. I don’t know what I’m going to do after I finish because all the time I have these unique moments and I’m so happy for all that’s happened in my life and my career. I just want to compete."
Silva (34-11) is just 2-3 over his last five bouts.
Despite a close unanimous decision loss to "Ace" back at UFC 99, his other two defeats came by way of brutal knockout. Quinton Jackson stiffened him at the UFC 92 event in late 2008 before Chris Leben turned out the lights at UFC 132 nearly a year ago.
"The Axe Murderer" has a total of four knockout losses over the past five years and could be faced with an ultimatum if Franklin is able to follow suit. Anyone think this may be the last we see of the PRIDE legend?
Get more on their Saturday night fight by clicking here.