Lorenzo Fertitta: I Have Never Seen Anderson As Motivated

anderson silva ufc 183

Excitement is building for former middleweight champion Anderson Silva’s return to the UFC after a lengthy absence due to a broken leg suffered at UFC 168.

“The Spider” will take on Nick Diaz in the main event of January 31, 2015’s UFC 183, and from the sound of things at yesterday’s pre-fight press conference, Silva won’t tolerate any disrespect from the Stockton bad boy.

He also detailed his long road to recovery, which he deemed one of the hardest times of his life. UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta looked back on Silva’s injury in a recent interview:

He first described how he wanted to give Silva time to heal, watching his progression through the steps to recovery:

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“We purposefully let Anderson go off after his injury. Because it was so significant an injury, we didn’t want to bother him too much. He needed time to recover and to heal.

We continued to communicate with him, and on his own, he got back in the gym. He was doing therapy, and then he started doing Jiu-Jitsu, and then doing Muay Thai again.”

Silva soon got back to health and was cleared to train fully, and he recently retracted his statement that he wouldn’t fight Chris Weidman again. Silva said he’s coming for the belt, and Fertitta reiterated “The Spider’s” statement:

“Once he got the point where he could train 100%, and he got cleared by the doctors, we called him. We sat down with him, and we asked him what he wanted to do.

Essentially what Anderson told me is that his goal isn’t just to get back into the Octagon, and to get back in the UFC, that it’s his goal to win the belt back. He feels like the belt Chris Weidman has is his. He held it for almost a decade and he wants it back.”

Getting the belt back, or at least attempting to, is what’s best for business, so if Silva gets past Diaz easily at UFC 183, expect him to be booked in a title shot next. Based on his training, Fertitta believes that will be no problem:

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“I would have to say I have never seen Anderson as motivated. He’s in a great mood, he was smiling through all the meetings, and he’s very, very excited for this fight on Jan 31st. We’re expecting to see the old Anderson Silva come back, and it’s going to be very, very exciting.””

We’ll just have to see if the old Anderson Silva shows up in what may be the most anticipated return bout of all time. Does Diaz stand a chance against a legend?

Photo: Jayne Kamin Oncea for USA TODAY Sports