Wanderlei Silva recently talked about how his legendary approach to fighting began.
“When I grew up, I’m poor, I’m fat. I suffer a lot of bullying, I (had) a tough time. I knew I wanted the things I don’t have. All (of) these bad moments, make (me) mad inside.”
Wanderlei terrorized Pride’s middleweight division during the early 2000s. His legendary knockouts over Kazushi Sakuraba, Rampage Jackson, and others struck fear into opponents. Prior to his fight with Kazuhiro Nakamura in 2005, commentator Mauro Ranallo said Wanderlei looked like a “caged animal” during introductions.
Wanderlei explained in an interview with MMA TRUFAN that his intense demeanor was just a way to improve his quality of life.
“When I’m going to fight I know I’m doing good and I want the fight. It’s just a way to change my life, to be something, to have something.”
Wanderlei Looks Back on His Childhood
Wanderlei often thinks about his life before his career began. He described his approach to fighting as a way to ensure that he doesn’t have to live that way again.
“When I’m in the gym, I don’t want to go back where I came from. Because I know that is too hard. I want to go in the front. Because this is, I think, the only way to change my life.”
Wanderlei’s ability to channel his anger in a constructive manner was unique compared to other fighters. UFC Hall of Famer Bas Rutten was a commentator for many of Wanderlei’s fights in Pride and shared in an interview with MMA TRUFAN what made Wanderlei different from most fighters.
“If somebody can use anger to his advantage, it’s him. With me, I do not want to be angry before a fight because it makes me load up my punches and telegraph it. So, I try to be in a calm state of mind. Because I always say an angry person loads up. But, Wanderlei, he broke that mold. That guy knows exactly how to fight with anger and then just destroying his opponents. What a different kind of breed of fighter that guy is.”
Wanderlei went undefeated in Pride for four years while winning over twenty fights in a row. He finished his career with twenty-seven knockout victories.
Hear the entire MMA TRUFAN episode on Wanderlei Silva below.