Monday, Dec. 22, 2008 | 2 a.m.
The two may have played nice on the last media teleconference, but make no mistake about it, there is no love lost between Ultimate Fighting Championship fighters Wanderlei “The Axe Murderer” Silva and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson.
“Well, it ain’t no secret that Wanderlei and I see things differently. I’m the type of person that I don’t hate nobody, but I like some people more than I like other people,” Jackson said, avoiding the type of verbal barbs that defined his attitude toward Silva during their first two fights.
Silva (32-8-1) wasn’t as polite in his response to the announcement that he would be facing Jackson (28-7) in this Saturday’s UFC 92: The Ultimate 2008 at the MGM Grand.
“I’m not fighting him for money — I’m fighting him for pure pleasure,” said Silva, in a prepared statement back in October.
“He talks bad about me on the Internet, yet he won’t talk bad to my face. I don’t like him and I can’t wait to beat him down at UFC 92.”
The 32-year-old Brazilian backed down slightly in his latest remarks, instead shifting his statements to the importance of the bout in each fighter’s pursuit of the UFC’s light heavyweight title.
“I think it’s a different moment for me and for him,” said Silva, who owns a pair of knockouts over Jackson via his knees when the two were fighting in Japan’s PRIDE organization.
“I’m so excited for fighting him here. The whole world wants to watch us. I know he’s going to give his best and I want to give a good show for all the world.”
That’s the politically correct answer. Silva is not going to forget Jackson’s war of words, which dates back five years. Silva defeated Jackson in November 2003 to win PRIDE’s Middleweight Grand Prix.
And Jackson won’t forget Silva’s vicious knee that broke his nose in their second meeting, or the way the Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu specialist celebrated as Jackson lay unconscious on the ropes.
“I knew that I’d see Wanderlei again as soon as he signed with the UFC. It was inevitable,” said Jackson, who lost the light heavyweight belt to Forrest Griffin last July.
“I don’t see this as revenge. Revenge is a dangerous motive. This is my job. This is my fight. This is my career. This is my life.
“Those first two times happened. It didn’t have the outcome that I wanted to have, but this is my time to make it right in my mind. Fighting when I’m a little bit better. I’m a little bit older and more mature now. I’m a lot better with my skills and everything.”
Silva echoed Jackson’s sentiment and said that a win over a fighter of Rampage’s caliber would position him right at the top of the competitive 205-pound division.
“He’s the last champion and has a great name here,” said Silva, who defeated Keith Jardine in May after losing to Chuck Liddell in their long-awaited fight, which also marked Silva’s return to the UFC in December last year.
“I’m coming to see if I can fight with the best guys. This is a great opportunity to fight until we see the belt in the future. But first I need to beat Rampage again,” continued Silva, who once again showed his respect toward Jackson.
But much like this feud’s outcome so far, Silva made sure he got the last word.
“I’m going to have a very, very good surprise for Quinton on December 27,” Silva said.
Andy Samuelson is a sports writer/editor for the Las Vegas Sun. He can be reached at [email protected] or 702-948-7837.