Wanderlei Silva eyes boxing venture following MMA retirement, pursues former world champions

Wanderlei Silva
Mandatory Credit: Josh Hedges - Zuffa LLC

Former PRIDE FC champion and UFC alum, Wanderlei Silva recently confirmed his retirement from professional mixed martial arts, however, has announced plans to pursue professional boxing – as well as poking barbs at compatriot and past opponent, Vitor Belfort.

Silva, a former undisputed middleweight champion under the PRIDE FC banner, as well as the 2003 middleweight Grand Prix victor, recently called time on his professional mixed martial arts career with immediate effect, having last competed in a fourth fight against Quinton Jackson under the Bellator banner back in 2018. 

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Revered as one of the most lethal and devastating knockout artists in the sport’s history, Silva holds the record for the most wins, knockouts, title defenses, and the longest streak of victories under the PRIDE FC banner.

Wanderlei Silva blasts Vitor Belfort for boxing Evander Holyfield last year

Competing under the scrutiny of the UFC from 2007 until 2013 in his second tenure, the Curitiba striker announced his intentions to compete in professional boxing next – eyeing former world champions, as well as criticizing fellow Brazilian, Belfort’s knockout win over Evander Holyfield last year.

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“I would like to fight a boxer, right?” Wanderlei Silva told MMA Fighting’s Trocacao Franca podcast with Guilherme Cruz. “I always liked to do it in their game. Even when I was training, I liked to do Jiu-Jitsu with Jiu-Jitsu guys and wrestle wrestlers. I like to test myself.”

“I would like to box one of the good guys, maybe a former world champion, something like that,” Wanderlei Silva explained. “That would be interesting. But I don’t want to fight an old man like our friend (Vitor Belfort) did, fighting someone who’s almost 70. It has to be someone younger, right? To fight an old man and beat them quickly is something other type of fighters do. I won’t do that. I wanna someone good.” 

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Headline a Triller Fight Club event against the 59-year-old former world champion, Holyfield last year, Belfort scored a brutally one-sided first round knockout win.

Sharing the Octagon all the way back at UFC Brazil in 1998, Silva suffered a first round knockout loss to Belfort inside just 44-seconds in Sao Paulo.

Aspiring mixed martial arts reporter based in Ireland. Follow along at @Ross_Markey on Twitter for all the latest news, fight announcements, opinion, and feature pieces.