Bruno Silva still bothered by delayed UFC start, hunting knockout in debut
LAS VEGAS – Bruno Silva thought he would make his UFC debut in 2019, but the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency had different plans.
After signing with the promotion and scheduling a bout with fellow middleweight Deron Winn, Silva was suspended for two years when the UFC’s official anti-doping partner found the anabolic androgenic steroid boldenone in his system.
Silva swore he had not taken any performance-enhancing drugs, and he took the case before an arbitrator. Unfortunately for the Brazilian middleweight, he was unable to prove his innocence, and his two-year suspension was upheld.
“It still bothers me when I talk about that,” Silva told MMA Junkie through an interpreter at Wednesday’s UFC on ESPN 25 media day. “It was a long thing for me, but in two years, like, I have my family. I have a daughter right now. I have my wife. Everything that happened is in the past.
“It was hard for me during this process, you know – it was not easy. I spent a lot of money to try to get here today, to try to prove that I was innocent. I still think I am. I had to serve (my suspension) for two years. But, you know, isn’t it best right now? I’m here. I’m happy. I want to focus on the present.”
Silva (19-6 MMA, 0-0 UFC) finally makes his promotional debut at Saturday’s UFC on ESPN 25, when he takes on fellow Brazilian Wellington Turman (16-4 MMA, 1-2 UFC) at the UFC Apex in a main-card matchup. The entire card airs on ESPN2 and streams on ESPN+.
Silva admits that staying focused during his suspension initially proved to be a challenge, but a change in attitude helped him turn the time off into a positive.
“The first three months was the worst for me because I didn’t want to go to the gym, I didn’t want to get up from my bed and train,” Silva said. “Then I tried to change my mindset to go back to the training, and then it was still very hard to think, ‘Oh my God, in 14 months I’ll be able to go back.’
“I got my strength from my family, from my psychologist and that made me go back to training. Right now I feel very happy. You guys will see a more complete athlete, somebody that is more happy, that is going to dance more.”
So after two grueling years, Silva finally gets a second chance to make a first impression in the UFC. With 16 knockouts in his 19 career wins, “Blindado” makes no attempt to hide his gameplan. He’ll be swinging for the fences and looking to entertain.
“I’d rather lose being applauded than win being booed,” Silva said. “I don’t work with numbers. I don’t like to count points. I always go to the octagon to get the win by a knockout, and that’s what I’m going to pursue on Saturday.”
To see the full interview with Silva, check out the video above.