Each week, UFC.com gets the distinct pleasure of meeting with a handful of athletes for a prefight interview. For some fighters, speaking with media is a bigger challenge then stepping into a locked Octagon to fight.
On Wednesday Joaquim Silva decided to step out of his comfort zone and do his interview with UFC.com in English rather than his native Portuguese. And he absolutely knocked it out of the park.
“Interviews are a challenge because my anxiety is bad,” Silva told UFC.com. “This is my first interview I’ve done in English.”
“But I love a challenge in my life.”
Successfully speak English to the media. Check.
After his Performance of the Night knockout win last October, Silva suffered an injury to his knee that kept him out the last eight months. But Silva rehabbed and made his health a priority and overcame that setback.
Get back to 100%. Check.
Every time a new hurdle presents itself, the 34-year-old seems to come out on the other side better than ever and with an even bigger smile on his face.
That’s why Silva didn’t blink when his manager informed him that he had the opportunity to step into a high-profile bout with ranked lightweight contender Arman Tsarukyan.
“I check my phone and I see my message from my manager, and I look at the message and go ‘Oh my gosh! No way,’” Silva said. “I love this fight. I love this matchup. He’s a tough guy and puts my career at a different level in the UFC. I’m excited.”
Tsarukyan was originally slated to fight Renato Moicano in a UFC Fight Night main event bout, but Moicano was forced to withdraw from the fight. That’s when the UFC asked Silva to step up to the plate.
Silva is aware that many people see Tsarukyan as one of the top rising contenders in the lightweight division. That makes his UFC Fight Night: Vettori vs Cannonier co-main event an opportunity that’s almost too good to be true.
“Arman is a tough guy. He’s No. 8,” Silva said. “He’s a dangerous guy with a good background in wrestling and in jiu jitsu. Good striking and he’s a young guy. He’s a tough fight, it’s a big challenge, and a big opportunity.”
“I think fans look at me like a big underdog but, for me, it doesn’t matter. I don’t think about it. It’s a big war for the fans. I put in my mind three rounds. I defend the takedowns, I put my game together striking and I hurt Arman. I think this is a big show for the fans.”
Silva’s confidence in this matchup with Tsarukyan comes from the work he’s put in over the last six weeks. He believes that the work he’s put in and the way he was able to hone in on the details of his game will pay dividends.
Beating Tsarukyan is the only thing on Silva’s mind, so he’s not jumping ahead and thinking about where a win could put him in the lightweight rankings. But if he does leave the UFC APEX with a big win over Tsarukyan, he believes his message to the rest of the competitors at 155 pounds will be clear.
“I’m here and I’m hungry,” Silva said. “Look at me.”
Upset Arman Tsarukyan? To Be Determined…
UFC Fight Night: Vettori vs Cannonier took place live from the UFC APEX in Las Vegas on June 17, 2023. See the Final Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses - and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass!