Anderson Silva revealed he wanted to call it a day in his mixed martial arts career before his defeat to Chris Weidman.
Silva was the longtime middleweight king at the time and when he was approached with the idea of defending his title against Weidman, “The Spider” had other ideas. Along with his management, he told the UFC that he no longer had an interest in competing.
“‘I want to stop, I want a time for myself, to stay with my family’,” Silva claims to have told Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta in a recent UFC interview (via MMA Fighting). “‘I have been doing this for years and I’m losing contact with my kids. I’m only training and training, it’s not working for me anymore.'”
The decision shocked his own management as well and while Silva was adamant about it, he eventually changed his mind. White and Fertitta rewarding him with a Bentley Continental GT shortly after the initial meeting may have helped matters too as Silva wondered whether it was an attempt to change his mind.
Regardless, Silva was now facing Weidman at UFC 162 in 2013. And unlike previous fights, something was definitely off for the Brazilian.
“But one day before I started my camp to fight Weidman, I already was too saturated,” he said. “I never talked about this, never used this term ‘if I win.’ I said to [my wife], ‘If I win, I’ll stop, I won’t fight anymore.'”
In the end, Silva didn’t win. He was knocked out clean by Weidman in the second round as his 17-fight win streak came to a halt.
Silva eventually faced Weidman in an immediate rematch five months later. While he was fully focused on regaining the title, he was adamant again that he would retire if he became a two-time champion. This time, he would suffer a TKO defeat after breaking his leg as Weidman checked a leg kick.
“I would have stopped if I had won the fight, I wouldn’t fight anymore, but I ended up breaking my leg,” Silva added. “I think that was a message from God saying to me, ‘Look, man, you’re not supposed to stop yet. It took so long for you to get here and now you want to stop?’ I don’t know, I think those are subliminal messages that stay in your head.”
Silva’s first defeat to Weidman kickstarted a run of just one win in his next seven fights. The 45-year-old’s last outing was a TKO defeat to Jared Cannonier at UFC 237 in May last year.