Jared Cannonier is about to fight one of the greatest fighters the game has ever known, Anderson Silva, in his native country of Brazil, who have some of the most vocal and passionate fans on the planet. But does the hard-hitting middleweight sound worried? No. No he doesn’t.
Cannonier has been booked to fight the former champ and legend at UFC 237, which will go down on May 11th in Rio de Janeiro. Now, due to the accomplishments of Silva, of course, he’s going to have massive support from the crowd that night. But, when you consider the star hasn’t fought in Brazil since 2012, you would think the buzz surrounding Silva’s return will be through the roof.
But, while talking about the fact he’s about to fight Silva in his native Brazil recently, Cannonier said this (quotes via MMA Junkie):
“I’m actually excited to be doing this, going into enemy territory, in a place that’s infamous for their undying support for their heroes,” Cannonier said. “But that’s fine. I’m interested to see how they receive me, to be honest. Are they going to be like, ‘Anderson’s going to kick your ass,’ are they going to be like ‘We hate you, get the hell out of Brazil, we want to see you get your ass kicked.’
“Are they going to be like, ‘We respect you, we’re fans of you, we love how you carry yourself, but Anderson’s going to win?’ Are they’re just going to want to see a really good fight? Either way, they’re going to see a good fight. Whether they love me, whether they hate or whether they’re neutral, it’s going to be a really good fight. After the fact, they’re going to cheer for both of us.”
“…All the things he’s done, I’m not afraid of anything that he’s capable of doing. I’ve already accepted that fact. I already signed on the dotted line. I already know what he can do. I’m sure he’s aware of some of the things that I can do…”
Now sure, come fight week or fight night, maybe Cannonier will get rattled by all the support being thrown behind Silva. But, right now, the 35-year-old certainly seems dialed in on what’s coming up and what he needs to do at UFC 237.
The fans etc aside, this is a pivotal fight for both men. Cannonier is coming off a stoppage win over David Branch in November, after dropping consecutive bouts to light-heavyweights Dominick Reyes and Jan Blachowicz. So, scoring a win over Silva would unquestionably do lots for his career.
Silva, meanwhile, was outscored by Israel Adesanya in his last bout and he’s dropped three of his last four. So, another loss, particularly a bad one, may prompt calls as to whether the 44-year-old legend needs to be fighting still.