The video above does a good job of reminding us.
Set to face fellow brawler Chris Leben at UFC 132 on July 2 after more than a year on the shelf spent rehabbing a knee injury, Silva recently shot the latest episode of his ongoing web documentary series recently while preparing for the bout and he spoke about the uphill battle of returning to the Octagon after surgery.
According to Wand, he thought for a minute about making an exit from the sport, but his fans and his burning desire to compete quashed the notion. Silva says he’s looking at his bout with Leben as the first step towards a comeback that he hopes will lead to him getting back to the upper echelon of the sport where he stood for many years while fighting for PRIDE.
“First I want to thank God for giving me motivation to keep training and to come back. This fight for me is really important. There were moments of doubt if I was ever going to come back. God really motivated me by giving me so many friends who helped me throughout the way,” Silva explains. “This comeback is to prove to you all that there’s always a way. Man, we have to put in the effort. We have to work hard. I don’t really know what I’m going to do when I stop fighting. Thanks to god there is lots of things to be done, but my life is to fight. I like being inside the Octagon. Inside the Octagon is where I really feel the energy of the fans.”
He says that, contrary to popular belief, being a fighter isn’t all partying with celebrities and driving expensive rides. It’s about struggle, hard work and perseverance.
“Fighters go through a lot. Many of the things that I’ve been through — keeping a job, injury, not making any money fighting, bills to pay and still fighting for that dream, raining, going to the gym every day… MMA is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. In MMA it’s impossible to become successful quickly,” he points out. “Without a [high] skill level you won’t be successful, especially today where you can see amateurs fighting like professionals. So this comeback is really important. It’s times like these you call it, ‘warrior time.’”
A perpetual fan favorite, Wand says that the messages and words of encouragement he received from his fans, who he prefers to call ‘friends,’ gave him the fortitude to keep training and working towards mounting his comeback.
“You guys who send me messages every day, sending me good vibes — every sentence I read each day is a great help and touches my heart. My fans are really amazing. That’s why I say, ‘I don’t have fans, I have friends.’ You guys give me great strength,” Silva says. “You made easier this time of recovery. It was hard, but you guys made it go by faster. Thanks to all of you. Now this is a thing of ‘ours.’”