Erick Silva might very well be the best 1st round fighter in all of MMA.
This is both his greatest asset and the biggest detriment to his career thus far. At this past Saturday’s UFC Fight Night in Cincinnati, Silva had Matt Brown hurt early due to a crippling body shot that had “The Immortal” reeling and in jeopardy of being stopped.
From there, Silva would work to take Brown’s back and began looking for a fight ending rear naked choke. That was not to be, as Brown would not only get back to his feet, but also began teeing off on Silva like he was working the heavy bag.
What started out as a potential 10-8 round for Silva, turned into a 10-9 round for Brown. Although the fight has been considered a front runner for fight of the year, that honor is merely a consolation prize for Silva, who went into that fight with plenty of confidence.
After the fight, in an interview with Combate, Silva mentioned that he just doesn’t know what went wrong in the fight with Brown. (Interview transcribed by Fernando Arbex)
I was good in the first round. I did what was planned, which was explore the kicks in the beginning. I hit him with a good kick, we trained a lot to do that. It was a flaw of Brown’s where I knew I could catch him. He was very hurt and I tried to submit him. I’m sure that he trained a lot of jiu-jitsu to defend from his back. I confess that I don’t understand what happened there. I’ve trained more than everybody. I sparred five rounds with different athletes. My team and I were too confident for this fight because I was well trained. Man, I posted stuff saying that my cardio was excellent to fight five rounds because I knew that I was ready. I didn’t understand. I was tired in the first round, I got scared when I felt tired. When I felt the tiring in my legs, I told Distak, my head coach: “I don’t understand”. I felt a low blow but I don’t know if that was the reason. I don’t know if it was the adrenaline, my recovering, I confess that I don’t know.
In the interest of fairness, Silva’s troubles extend beyond his ability to fight at high levels for prolonged periods of time. Credit also has to go out to Matt Brown, who showed great heart in the face of adversity, survived that initial onslaught, and went on to destroy the will of Silva. That toughness did not go unnoticed by Silva.
I’ve faced a very tough guy. I was surprised by his will. I remember that I was on his back and he was screaming because of the pain. He persisted, he had his merits. He is tough, he has a lot of will and deserved the win. My body wasn’t responding. It wasn’t lack of training. I have to sit with my team and analyze everything, my mistakes, the weight cut, if that was the reason. Anyway, I don’t want to blame anything. I’ve seen in this fight that my place isn’t yet to be fighting with the top guys. These guys are too far ahead of me. But I won’t give up. I’ll continue in my path, climbing step by step.
While most fighters would have been left completely broken by what Silva experienced, “Indio” has taken the loss in stride. Not only is Silva trying to figure out what went wrong, but he is also looking towards the future and what he has to do to better himself as a fighter.
I’m contacting some people and closing deals to come to America to train. I’m sure that this will be very good for me. I need to learn new stuff. I won’t change my team, there is no chance. But, I also have to train in other places. I’ll meet great fighters in their fight camps, to watch what they do differently. I know that something lacks in my game. I know also that I have what it needs to come closer of the top. I always have opportunities to finish the fight, but I lose them. So, I have to find which are these flaws.
Silva is too dynamic a fighter not to figure out these problems, correct them, and go on to have an amazing career. I realize that Silva is merely 4-4 in his eight UFC appearances, but there are side notes to consider for those four losses. His first loss was to Carlo Prater. That was a DQ loss, which if we are being honest, was ridiculous given how much better Silva is than Prater. His second loss was to former title challenger and long-time number two welterweight, Jon Fitch. He gave Fitch a run for his money and had him in bad spots.
His third loss was to Dong Hyun Kim. In that fight, he was on his way to a potential win, before being caught with a huge punch that seemingly came out of nowhere. His fourth loss, which came to Brown, came in a fight that he nearly won by stoppage. Long story short, Silva’s record is deceptive in that he could just as easily be 8-0 and knocking on the door of welterweight champion, Johny Hendricks. While Silva has had average results in the octagon, he remains one of the biggest threats to anyone in the welterweight division. The fact that he understands that there are things he needs to correct and is taking steps to correct them, will only benefit him down the road.