Former middleweight king Anderson Silva has revealed he was close to retiring from MMA before his first loss to Chris Weidman in 2013.
‘The Spider’ Silva was riding a 17-fight win streak and had just successfully stepped up to light-heavyweight knocking out TUF veteran Stephan Bonnar. In the aftermath of that fight, the Brazilian says he had decided to retire and met with UFC bosses Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta to tell them about his plans.
“I want to stop, I want a time for myself, to stay with my family,” Silva said in an interview with UFC Brasil. “I have been doing this for years and I’m losing contact with my kids. I’m only training and training, it’s not working for me anymore.”
Shortly after, White and Fertitta bought the middleweight champion a brand new Bentley Continental GT, worth $174,000. Silva believed the gift may have been an effort from the UFC to convince him to reconsider retirement and clearly it worked. ‘The Spider backtracked on his retirement plans and agreed to face unbeaten American Weidman for his middleweight title in July 2013 despite not feeling in peak condition, he said.
“But one day before I started my camp to fight Weidman, I already was too saturated,” Silva said. “I never talked about this, never used this term ‘if I win.’ I said to [my wife], ‘If I win, I’ll stop, I won’t fight anymore.’”
Silva and Weidman met in the main event of UFC 162 on July 6, 2013. The American shocked the world by knocking out the long-reigning middleweight champion inside two rounds.
“It was a group of things, many things led to my loss to happen that way,” Silva said. “Weidman had all the merits and won, he won well, but that’s what happened.”
The South American legend was, of course, granted an immediate rematch and was fully focused on regaining his crown before calling it a career, however, things didn’t go according to plan, he explained.
“I would have stopped if I had won the fight, I wouldn’t fight anymore, but I ended up breaking my leg,” Silva said. “I think that was a message from God saying to me, ‘Look, man, you’re not supposed to stop yet. It took so long for you to get here and now you want to stop?’ I don’t know, I think those are subliminal messages that stay in your head.”