Erick Silva hadn’t tasted defeat since 2006, until he ran into John Fitch in a barnburner of a fight at UFC Rio last October.
Testament to how pleased everyone was with his last fight despite his being on the wrong end of the judges’ decision, Erick (14- 3) was called right back up to adorn the star-studded card for UFC 156, an event to take place on Feb. 2, Super Bowl weekend, in Las Vegas, where he will take on Jay Hieron (23-6).
GRACIEMAG.com had a chat with the jiu-jitsu black belt and former soccer player. Check out what he had to say:
GRACIEMAG.com: What did you learn from your decision loss to the extremely well-rounded Jon Fitch at UFC Rio?
ERICK SILVA: It was a tough and lively fight. I feel the main thing I learned is that I need to be well-rounded. These days, MMA fighters can’t just be flawless at one style. I have to be an expert at everything. I have to train in everything so I’ll be ready for the next ones.
Did you identify any flaws in your game that need correcting?
Each one is a separate case. We have to be sharp in all styles and try to improve our strategy with every fight if we want to leave the octagon with a win.
It was a great fight when it comes to grappling, with submission attempts and taking the back. Did you feel you came up short at all? Will you up your jiu-jitsu training?
Here at the academy we train everything, and all our training sessions are intense. It’s no different when it comes to ground training, which is always excellent here. For this next fight, I’m going to have to bring in a great jiu-jitsu coach for my camp. I want to show up in Vegas even sharper.
Your next opponent is the experienced Jay Hieron. Do you consider him to be tougher or not as tough as Fitch?
There are no weak fighters in the UFC, and the welterweight division is one of the toughest. Jay [Hieron] and Fitch are really tough fighters with great attributes. It will be a great fight, is all I can say.
What will your camp for UFC 156 be like?
I’m going to do all my training at X-Gym with Josuel Distak and Rogério Camões, like I always do. Someone else who has come in and has already helped me out a lot is Adrian Jaoude, the wrestling coach. Training at the gym is already off the hook.
What went through your mind when you were added to such a stellar card as UFC 156, with Aldo vs. Edgar, Minotouro vs. Rashad, Demian vs. Fitch and so many other great battles?
I’m glad that I get to fight alongside so many big names again. It’s just that the most important fight on the card is always mine. That’s the one that most interests me and the one I’m most focused on. I want to have a great fight and get my hand raised and please the fans.
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