Anderson: “Mino made me feel like a white belt”

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Anderson in photo by Fabio Ferreira

Anderson Silva is the man. In the headliner at the upcoming August 27 UFC Rio event, the “Spider” will take on Yushin Okami. Widely featured in major media outlets, now represented by former soccer star Ronaldo’s marketing company, Silva has achieved celebrity status in Brazil. So how can success not go to his head?

“It was hard making it to where I am today, that itself teaches us something. I have good friends and role models. My greatest role model is Rodrigo Minotauro. He puts us in our place. Just yesterday Mino made me feel like a white belt,” he said.

Anderson poses for photos with Okami. Photo: Fabio Ferreira.

About Okami, he’s the last one to have beaten Silva, but by disqualification following an illegal upkick that knocked out the Japanese fighter.

“No, no… I won that fight!” Anderson joked, taunting his future opponent from just meters away.

I feel it’s a great opportunity for the both of us. He’s been beating fighters who had been getting close to title shots, so he deserves his chance. I’m going to train hard as always, but we’ll only know the outcome once it’s over,” he added, in an attempt to ward off the inevitable favoritism.

One of the controversies exploited by the media is the fact that Okami is doing his preparations with Chael Sonnen, a fighter mired in controversy and Anderson’s last opponent. However, for anyone who doesn’t remember, it’s not the first time that happens. Okami’s stints training with Sonnen date back some time and Anderson plays down any awkwardness surrounding the Japanese fighter’s choice.

“Everyone chooses what’s best for them. He chose Team Quest, which is an excellent team. Sonnen is just one of the guys who trains there. I don’t see anything wrong with it,” he said in closing.

Expectations for UFC Rio are huge, with tickets already sold out. Get in the mood with the promo video below:

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