Wanderlei Silva won’t be returning to mixed martial arts (MMA) competition.
MMA Fighting confirmed today (Weds., Aug. 31, 2022) that “The Axe Murderer” is officially hanging up his gloves with the intention to fully focus on guiding his son, Thor, through a career of his own. The only possibility of a return would come in the boxing ring, noted the legendary fan favorite, who has also recently begun a Brazilian political campaign.
“Only those who have sons know how it’s like watching them fight,” Silva said. “This feeling is completely different, but it’s very exciting because we know what it’s like and everything that can happen in a fight. I know where he can go, I’ve been through it all, and I know that what really counts is hard work. You may be the son of [someone important] or have as much money as you have, but hard work and training is what counts in there, and thank God he has behaved like a professional already.”
Thor, 19, has fought just once thus far, winning a May 2022 amateur kickboxing match against Gabriel Ferreira via unanimous decision. On Sept. 25, 2022, he’ll make his amateur MMA debut opposite Paulo Rangel on the same night Cris “Cyborg” Justino makes her boxing debut in the main event.
Admittedly liking the idea of competing in Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) someday like his father, the Bantamweight upstart is also intrigued by RIZIN Fighting Federation thanks to its ruleset. Ultimately, Thor will have to start by gradually picking up wins and gaining experience before anything gets too serious regarding either major promotion.
“If you can put on a show, great, but the sport is made of wins,” Silva said. “There’s no point being a great athlete that doesn’t win. You must win. You went there, you have to win. The secret of having success in this sport is winning.
“His main characteristic is that he’s brave and fearless,” he continued. “Last time he fought, I told him, ‘Son, go there and hit him. It’s better to hit first than getting hit.’ The fight started and he let his hands go. It’s a great thing that he’s brave and believes in his training to be prepared for everything.”
For Silva, 46, his retirement comes after a four-year hiatus, competing last in a quadrilogy bout versus Quinton “Rampage” Jackson at Bellator 206. Jackson bested his longtime rival via second round knockout, tying their series at 2-2.