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James Irvin Has Anderson Silva All Figured Out

After reading MMA Mania’s recent interview with James Irvin, we have new respect for the Sandman. The dude is just plain ballsy. Not only did he accept the UFN 14 fight against Anderson Silva when four others refused it, but the man actually has the stones to explain why Silva really isn’t that much of a threat. For a guy selected to be the Spider’s first roadkill en route to a light-heavyweight title, Irvin’s taking his long odds in stride…

Jesse Holland ( Well you don’t get Rashad Evans but now you’ve got UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva.
James Irvin: Yeah that’s a pretty big jump, huh? I can’t think of an opponent outside of Rampage or Liddell — maybe even Fedor that would be more shocking. But hey, Dana White seems to repay the people who fight hard for him…I’m gonna stand there and trade and I’ll take one to give one. In this case I might have to take two to give one.

Can you take two from Anderson Silva? Can anyone?
Absolutely. He has one or two tools that are problematic [ed. note: understatement of the decade?] but I know what they are. I think he’s more of a right-handed guy but he stands in a southpaw stance. He likes to lead with that left leg and he’s comfortable now. He’s used to getting guys on the defensive. There’s nothing he can do that I’m afraid of. I’m not afraid of him taking me down — that would be a shame, wouldn’t it? He’s a showman. He moved up to 205 to make a point. Maybe he feels like he ran through the 185 division and now he’s gonna start picking off the 205 guys.

And you’re not taking that lightly I assume.
No way! If anything I kind of feel like a representative of the light heavyweight division. I want this guy to know there is a reason we have weight classes.

I suppose Irvin can have such a cavalier attitude when he knows that he’ll be rewarded no matter what the outcome (i.e., whether he’s hospitalized after the fight with Silva, or if he actually dies in the cage). Not only does Dana White repay guys who fight hard, he also shows love to “real fucking fighters.” And Irvin definitely considers himself a member of that fraternity:

What is your contract status with the UFC?
I have one more fight on my contract after this fight (with Silva) so usually we start negotiating after that. I’m sure it will weigh in my favor that they had four people turn down this fight with Anderson before I accepted.

Wait a second, four people were offered this fight and said no?
I was very surprised myself and to be honest I was kind of let down by one or two of the names. I thought they would have done very well in this fight.

Wow, who was the most surprising name?
Uh, well most of them are buddies of mine so I’m gonna leave that be. I’m sure it will come out over time. Not that it really matters, all that matters is who said yes. I didn’t hesitate for a second. It’s funny I had actually talked to (UFC matchmaker) Joe Silva a week prior to all this and I told him I want to fight Wanderlei Silva and he told me Wanderlei wasn’t fighting until December. I told him, in fact I begged him for a top ten opponent. A week later I’m fighting Anderson Silva.

If your career has suffered as many unfortunate setbacks as James Irvin’s, you know that playing it aggressive (and a little bit insane) is the only way to stay afloat in the UFC’s marquee division. There are about a dozen guys ahead of Irvin in the light-heavyweight food chain, but he can carve a niche for himself as the guy who will literally fight anybody. If he can survive a round with Anderson Silva and put in a somewhat impressive performance, I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets fed to Lyoto Machida next. Because hey, nobody else wants to take that fight.

Speaking of which, Brandon Vera recently explained to MMA Junkie why he turned down a proposed matchup with Machida for his first fight at 205 pounds:

“For sure, I turned down the fight with Machida,” Vera said. “Don’t get me wrong. I’m down to fight Machida but not in my first time cutting down to 205 on four weeks’ notice. I want to be ready for Machida. That bastard’s good. I want to make sure I’ve got good sparring and a good game plan for Machida.

“Machida’s not somebody you can just jump in the cage with and fight. I don’t care who you are; if you think you can just beat Machida because you’re tougher than him, he’s probably going to whoop your ass. … He doesn’t go in to destroy people and finish them. Man, you can’t hit him, and he just keeps touching you. People just get frustrated and pissed off. So, I did turn down the fight with Machida, but I’m down for sure to fight Machida, given good time.”

Cagepotato Comments

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1world- August 20, 2008 at 2:00 am
Gil- July 19, 2008 at 3:32 am
Who said Irvin had a chance???? HAHAHA
Bootylam!- July 12, 2008 at 8:48 pm
Anyone who can knock fools out w/ one punch like Irvin always has a chance. Love Anderson, he just better watch out for getting his chin checked. Other than that Silva should pick him apart.
Anonymous- July 10, 2008 at 9:37 pm
I want to see BJ Penn fight Anderson Silva
da judge- July 9, 2008 at 1:59 am
If irvin atack the first minute with everything that he has he may very well win otherwise it is gonna be a long battle
JD- July 8, 2008 at 6:48 pm
Silva may be the safe bet, but Irvin's already proved he's no chump. He's the skill to put Silva to bed, and do so quickly.
curt- July 8, 2008 at 4:52 pm
all you guys are fools, everyone knows that Silva, is going to take this fight hands DOWN!! Irvin dosnt have the skills to take out Silva, and chances are hes not even going to know where Silva is the hole fight. Everyone knows Silva will win this fight, no chance Irvin, first round Chuck Norris roundhouse.
itcouldhappen- July 8, 2008 at 3:32 am
irvin via herb dean round 1
Clozer- July 8, 2008 at 1:29 am
Silva is more than likely going to get clipped and have to be told who he is where he is at and what the fuck just happened. Godzillad knows the facts and that being said, James stands a solid chance at knocking the Spider back to his respected weight class where he belongs.
VAGINAPLATA- July 7, 2008 at 4:08 pm
I just watched Anderson in an old vale tudo match. Use the ropes, kick the guy when he is down pride style. Every thing goes. He beat his opponent like his little brother. Irvin going to get schooled like a prisoner in the showers..
Barry McKockenner- July 7, 2008 at 5:07 am
definatly not a cake walk, Irvin has what it takes to end it with one shot. You never know, we all thought that Gabriel Gonzaga was fodder for Cro-Cop, and nobody ... and i mean NOBODY saw Matt Serra beating GSP. Shit like this happens when you least expect it .. Im looking forward to a great stand up war, for as long as it lasts .. probably will be a quick one.

would love to know who those 4 fighters were .. not that you can really blame them, but still.
Darroch- July 7, 2008 at 3:00 am
I think if anyone knows anything about this sport its that you can never count someone out. I agree with Silva being favored but I seriously doubt it'll be a cake-walk. Either way, looking forward to seeing it.
BLS19119- July 7, 2008 at 1:59 am
james "The Sandman" Irvin is a great fighter. He has two of the BEST KO"S IN THE UFC. Against Terry Martin(flying Knee), and houston Alexander (superman punch)....which is also tied for the fastest KO in UFC history. but it is all to no avail. The Spider is going destroy him , especially seeing that Irvin will stand with Silva. its going to be a great fight with a huge KO, and in MMA theres always a punchers chance and Irvin is a very talented Mui Tai fighter so we'll see
Harry Triangle- July 7, 2008 at 1:35 am
I agree with moo. Irvin has balls to take this fight, something that chuck would never do. It is plain to see who the real fighters are and who are just danas boys, right chuck and forrest.
Plain old Kevin- July 7, 2008 at 12:32 am
Mounted by Travis Lutter while Travis was clearly dehydrated and depressed from being a lazy bitch. Also quick to tap against Chonan. Hey Apexified... your boy is not invincible and a loss is a loss no matter how ya slice it. If Irvin loses then Silva is the black Lex Luther. Next comments about this will come in about 2 weeks.
moo- July 7, 2008 at 12:22 am
I give Irvin hella respect for taking this figh with short notice and against a guy of silvas pedigree. But im still saying dont count him out. Hes a big LHW with heavy hands and if he clips silva before he can find his range and timing... Plus being the size he is too i think silva might have a hard time with him on the ground or in the clinch.
KG is a faggot- July 7, 2008 at 12:21 am
KG is a faggot
D- July 7, 2008 at 12:20 am
I agree with Bill C and pick Irvin by TKO. Anderson Silva always comes out slow and waits to see what his opponent does. Irvin on the other hand comes out hard, like against Houston Alexander. Theres no way Anderson Silva has a better jaw than Houston Alexander and i dont think he can take a clean punch from Irvin.
mike- July 6, 2008 at 11:00 pm
was that a subtle poke at irvin at the end with the vera quotes? Ie. what a rational fighter thinks when hes asked to go up against someone much better than them?

I respect irvin a lot for what hes doing.
KG- July 6, 2008 at 10:46 pm
Irvin by blowjob, round 2
Kingsilo- July 6, 2008 at 9:53 pm
Sandmans got it. Fuck Silva.
natureboy- July 6, 2008 at 8:45 pm
I hope Irvin is practicing his Flying Heel Hook.
Patrick- July 6, 2008 at 8:24 pm
This is just like back when all the "smart guys" had a billion reasons why Koscheck was sure to be a huge challenge for GSP and probably beat him! Not quite
Sure, maybe we'll get a GSP vs Serra I, but I doubt it.
Silva FTW. A lot of guys like to hate on the "obvious answer" because it doesn't require any thought, but you know what? Sometimes that's just the way it is...
RealDrew- July 6, 2008 at 8:13 pm
I'll admit that I'm a Silva nuthugger. I love the guy. That's why this fight with Irvin scares me. Irvin is no punk. He's a tough dude. I've always liked Irvin. He's a big LHW which, I think gives him a chance in this fight. Silva should win, but I wouldn't be completely shocked if Irvin gets the knockout.
Anderson Silva 360- July 6, 2008 at 8:11 pm
I didn't understand this fight when they first made it, and I still don't get it now. It is obviously in the UFC's best interest to have Anderson Silva remain the pound-for-pound monster that he is, regardless of the weight class. But if he is going to move up to 205, and risks taking a loss, at least have it be against a name that people respect - like Chuck Liddell. If Silva fought Liddell, the UFC would have an awesome story for whoever comes out the victor.

But instead, they matched him up against a guy who is a one dimensional power puncher. Now, don't get me wrong, Anderson Silva should win this fight. But if there was ever a potential for an upset, it usually comes from a power puncher clipping the favorite. Jardine vs. Houston Alexander anyone?

Seems like a bad idea to have this match-up to me, as Irvin will surely benefit from a win over Silva, but he will never be a top contender due to his Houston Alexender-esque ground game. And if Silva gets beat that goes a long way to destroying the impressive repuation he has built for himself, and also dashes his hopes at competing outside of the MW division, where he has few opponents left.