With promotions, the world over rejecting the opportunity to sign former UFC middleweight champion, Anderson ‘The Spider’ Silva, Rizin Fighting Federation boss, Nobuyuki Sakakibara has recently declared his interest in offering the legendary Brazilian a route back to Japan for the closure of his career, under his organization’s banner.
Silva, who was recently released by the UFC with a single fight remaining on his contract, has been linked with possible landing pads in the likes of Bellator MMA, ONE Championship, PFL, and even BKFC – with each of them distancing themselves from a move for the soon to be 46-year-old.
The Curitiba counter-striker headlined UFC Vegas 12 on Halloween opposite The Ultimate Fighter 17 runner-up, Uriah ‘Prime Time’ Hall, dropping a fourth-round knockout loss despite a promising early showing. Silva, who had consistently flirted with retirement prior to the outing, has himself recently hinted at more professional walks, just not under the UFC’s banner.
Releasing a statement recently addressing the possibility of signing Silva, the above-mentioned, Sakakibara explained how while talks have yet to be held regarding a potential deal, he would be interested in offering the former middleweight kingpin a return to Asia.
“I have great memories with Anderson Silva from the PRIDE days and in my personal opinion, I think his career took off in Japan. I have heard that Japan has a special part in his heart as well.“
“I do feel that I would like to help him fulfil his wishes out of respect for what he has accomplished and what he has done for our sport. I haven’t talked to him yet but I would be interested to see if we can come up with something that makes sense for him to start his final chapter in Japan.“
A return to Japan would mark the first time Silva has competed in Asia since December 2004 at PRIDE Shockwave – where he suffered a heel-hook submission loss to Ryo Chonan.
A former PRIDE and Shooto feature, Silva rose to prominence in Japan, scoring the middleweight title in the latter promotion with a unanimous decision win over Hayato Sakurai.