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Joe Silva on Being the UFC’s Matchmaker: “It’s Very Frustrating”

UFC fighters constantly reference matchmaker Joe Silva when talking about the future of their careers, and yet we usually hear so little about the man who decides so much. Somehow Florida Today caught up with him recently to find out what he’s looking for and what it’s like to choose the guys who fight on MMA’s biggest stage:

“I’m looking for a well-rounded athletic fighter, but the most important thing to me is record,” said Joe Silva, the UFC’s vice president of talent relations. “It’s very frustrating in my job. I don’t look for victims. I pride myself in making competitive matchups.”

“I don’t care what happens in the gym. Lots of people do well in the gym. Going in the cage is a completely different thing, so I want to know how many fights do you have and who did you fight.”

“Did he beat up a bunch of guys who, this was their first fight? Or did he beat up a bunch of guys who had multiple fights and this much experience?”

“(In early MMA) if you had somebody who didn’t understand jiu-jitsu, you could beat them without being much of an athlete. Nowadays, everybody knows. There’s no secret techniques. People know, and they cross-train. Being an athlete quite often is what makes the difference.”

So you’re telling me that in modern MMA I have to not only know my stuff, but also be a great athlete? In other words, it’s like every other major professional sport. So basically I’ve got no chance, is what you’re saying. Well that’s just great.

Of course, we could always take issue with what Silva says are his criteria for choosing fighters and then ask how he decided that Rob Yundt, who had beaten a bunch of nobodies in Alaska, should debut in the UFC against Ricardo Almeida, but we won’t do that. Because even we have to admit that most of the time Silva does a hell of a job.

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Hywel Teague- July 14, 2008 at 1:16 am
Guys you need to email me re the use of this picture ASAP
Bootylam!- July 12, 2008 at 6:52 pm
Let's stop w/ the "this card sucks, they wasted my time" stuff. Where's the true Fans of MMA? I'm thankful there's enough fighters and leagues these days to keep us entertained. Not every matchup is perfect but fighting is unpredictable. True fans watch every fight they can get. Evans v. Liddell will be good if they don't gas and stand there just looking at each other. If Evans doesn't get knocked out he should win. He's tough and doesn't get enough respect for it.
Jeremy- July 11, 2008 at 1:46 am
yea the Yundt vs Almedia was made on 3 days notice or something stupid like that.
Yundt is a cunt- July 10, 2008 at 9:44 pm
I know you are trying to be funny, but the Yundt comment isn't remotely fair. When you make a fight on short notice it shouldn't count against you. Two people backed out of that fight, and Yundt stepped up. That isn't Silva's fault, and good for Silva for finding someone available on that kind of notice.

A good example of bad match-making is Nick Diaz vs. Thomas Denny.

Or... if you insist on pointing out fights to pick on Joe Silva, how about the rumored Rich Franklin vs. Matt Hamill. What kind of sense does that make?
jakey- July 10, 2008 at 5:30 pm
The card sucked - it was even worse than it looked on paper what was he smokin when he drew this one up?
Jeffro- July 10, 2008 at 4:52 pm
UFC 78 - That was bad. Probably the worst PPV in history.
Jeffro- July 10, 2008 at 4:51 pm
Jakey - UFC 86 wasn't bad. WTF are you bitching about. Joe Silva is a great matchmaker. Who woulda thought that his mother hates Rampage Jackson?
jakey- July 10, 2008 at 4:33 pm
great, so this is the dude who ll refund me the 2 hours of my life wasted watchin ufc86 up to the griffin jackson fight.
Aaron from alaska- July 10, 2008 at 4:20 pm
@ Old Bald...you in alaska also?
Old, Bald and Irish- July 10, 2008 at 4:17 pm
Easy with the "Yundt"-talk there.....

He took that fight on like a weeks notice.

Yundt has some good skills. Given time, I think he could be a good contender. Unfortunately, his 0-2 pro record doesn't help. He needs some wins, and I think he'll get them soon.
Joe Silva's mother- July 10, 2008 at 4:09 pm
you sorry sack I'm sick of your shitty match making.Iceman vs evans.you should be ashamed you cock sucker.you better do a Shogun vs Rampage or Vanderlei vs Rampage next you ass bag.
Aaron from alaska- July 10, 2008 at 3:53 pm
Ouch, ouch, ouch...Okay I should be taking a point CP for low blows, now I admit we are all pretty unknown here in alaska but everybody is a nobody until you get noticed, and again I admit most of the guys that have came out of Alaska have not done too much to get the recognition they deserve but just you wait (I am shaking my fist, in the same way an old man would at kids on his lawn), Now Doug Evans do you remember that guy against Huerta, ya he lost but man all he did was fight nobodies here in alaska then they brought up Mike Joy got a decision and next thing you know he is in the UFC, sure he got busted down to Elite XC but Dougie showed some heart, and Rob really is a good guy
mike- July 10, 2008 at 3:46 pm
To cut Joe some slack, wasn't that match-up put together on like 3 days notice after thales leites pulled out?
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