Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Heavyweight title contender Antonio Silva is all set to make his professional kickboxing debut at the upcoming GLORY 46 card on Oct. 14, 2017 inside Guangzhou Gymnasium in Guangzhou, China.
None other than current GLORY world champion and all-around knockout machine, Rico Verhoeven. It’s a fight that was initially met with harsh criticism, as Verhoeven is seemingly in the prime of his career with 13 straight wins while “Bigfoot” has lost five straight, including eight of nine.
For Silva, critics are part of the fight game.
"Critics will always exist and we have to know how to deal with them,” Silva told MMA Fighting. "Sometimes they don’t even mean to criticize you, but they are just jealous they wanted to be a professional fighter and don’t have that talent. I was always a humble person, I came from a humble family in Paraíba and competed around the world, and some people don’t accept that,” he added.
To hear “Bigfoot” tell it, in a fist fight, anything can happen and counting him completely out is simply the wrong thing to do.
"It’s a heavyweight fight and anything can happen. I respect Rico, he's the champion, but when I step into the ring anything can happen."
Silva says there was no hesitation on his end to accept the fight, and says though he may be counted out, his track record shows that he can make a fight interesting.
"I went five rounds with Mark Hunt, and we stood and fought for 22 minutes. I knocked out (Alistair) Overeem, a K-1 champion,” he continued. "Every athlete has to be versatile. I started in karate, but I always trained everything. Not having to worry about getting taken down or being pressed against the cage makes the camp and the actual fight easier."
At the end of the day, Silva says he isn’t the one going into the fight with pressure, as he is an amateur in boxing while Verhoeven has to fight up to his expectations as being a dominant champion.
It’s a similar situation Conor McGregor is facing when he steps into the boxing ring to face pound-for-pound great Floyd Mayweather on Aug. 26.
"It’s a similar situation,” Silva said. "McGregor never boxed and is going there to try to surprise. He has no pressure over himself because 99 percent of the people bet on Mayweather. He’s undefeated, 49-0, so most of the people think he will win. It’s the same thing in this fight. But we’re two human beings stepping into a ring to fight. Anything can happen in a heavyweight fight, one hand can land and change the story."
And while Silva respects McGregor, he still feels Mayweather’s experience will ultimately give him the “W.”