MONTREAL — So now we all know what it’s like to be in a cage with Anderson Silva. Minus the pain, of course.
On Saturday night, we did get the confusion, a good dose of it, stemming from the UFC middleweight champion’s uncanny elusiveness. He’s right there in front of you, then in a flash he’s gone without a trace, then he’s back, acting as if he’d never left.
Silva showed up at the Bell Centre prior to the start of UFC 154 and told an assemblage of media that, despite what’s been reported over the past week, he’s gung-ho to make his next bout a superfight with Georges St-Pierre.
“I’m very excited for this fight with Georges,” he said. “Maybe here, maybe in a big stadium in Brazil.” He said this around 10 minutes into his questioning by reporters, after beginning the session by addressing a query on the possibility of a GSP superfight with “Maybe, I don’t know.”
Adding to the mystification was the fact that St-Pierre first had to take care of business in his welterweight title defense against Carlos Condit later in the evening in the main event.
But “The Spider” had that one all figured out. “My opinion, Georges wins tonight,” he said matter of factly.
So, assuming he was right, when might a Silva vs. St-Pierre superfight take place? Perhaps in May, when UFC president Dana White has suggested? “I need to check my schedule,” said Silva, drawing laughter from the assembled media.
That’s the thing about Anderson Silva. He gets away with his linguistic acrobatics because he speaks Zen koans with a monk’s knowing smile. He’d walked into the packed room for this question-and-answer session, stepped behind the podium, and dryly announced, “I am the new Dana White.” He paused at the laughter, showing comedic timing to match his octagon timing, before adding, “Dana Black.” More laughter.
Silva conducted the session in English, with only occasional translations of questions by his manager, Ed Soares. And while his syntax is broken, he chooses his words carefully, even as they flow freely. Case in point: By stating his desire for a fight with St-Pierre, it turns out, he was not contradicting the report earlier in the week in the Brazilian magazine Tatame in which he was quoted as refuting stories that if GSP won the main event, he planned to step into the octagon and issue a challenge. Silva reiterated that on Saturday night, saying that he would not confront St-Pierre in the cage. “No,” he said. “This is not me.”
Silva was no less enigmatically precise with his comments when asked about a possible superfight with Jon Jones. “Georges for my next fight, maybe,” he said. “Jon Jones, no.” However, he’d not been asked if he would fight Jones, but rather whether he wanted to. His linguistic escape route was to add, “But this is not my decision. It is Dana’s decision.”
Later, Silva elaborated: “For a long time the people talked, hey, Anderson and Georges St-Pierre, Anderson and Georges St-Pierre. This time the people talk Anderson and Jon Jones, Anderson and Jon Jones. My first goal is Georges St-Pierre, the superfight. And second goal, maybe Jon Jones, I don’t know. This is not my decision. This is Dana’s decision.”
Yes, he said it twice, putting the onus on the UFC president. Why? Well, Silva has two fights left on his contract with the company, and if those two fights are going to be against Georges St-Pierre and Jon Jones, they’re going to cost Dana & Co. a good-sized chunk of the big money those superfights would generate.
Silva was asked whether he’d want a payday commensurate with the types of purses — $30 million and up — that top boxers command for superfights. “Yeah, yeah!” he said, his eyes lighting up at the mention of such megabucks. “Very exciting for me.”
Very exciting for us all.