Former PRIDE champion, UFC and Bellator veteran Wanderlei Silva has officially called it a career after 51 matches and 22 years in the sport. In a conversation on MMA Fighting’s Trocacao Franca podcast, the ‘Axe Murderer’ has announced his retirement from mixed martial arts, but maybe not from fighting entirely.
During the conversation, Silva said he was done with MMA, but could still accept a boxing match against a suitable opponent. When thinking about rematches he never had in his career, the 46-year-old recalled both Vitor Belfort and Dan Henderson, while calling out ‘Hendo’ for one last dance.
“We’re officially retired from MMA,” Wanderlei said. “I think these new boxing events are interesting. It would be interesting, though I’ve never had a boxing fight before. My boxing is very good, I’ve trained with some really good guys, but I never fought. I’d like to have a boxing match at one of those good events against a good name,”
“My rematch with Belfort was the only fight that never took place,” Silva said. “I would have liked to have had a rematch against Dan Henderson, too. In fact, I won one and lost the other. But I kind of had a cold in the second fight, I wasn’t 100%. If he accepted to have boxing fight with me, I’d love to beat him up,”.
Now involved in politics as he runs for a seat in the Brazilian congress, Silva has also been helping his son Thor prepare for his amateur MMA debut. The 19-year-old is expected to compete on September 25, and Wanderlei believes he has the right mindset for the sport.
“Only parents know what it’s like. It’s a totally different feeling, but very emotional, because we know all the things that can happen in a fight. I’ve been through it all and I know what your own effort is worth. He may be anyone’s son, have all the money available, but in a fight it’s your own effort that counts. The heart and the training. He’s been training hard and behaving like a professional.”
During his career, Silva (35-14-1-1 NC) was one of the biggest names of his generation, being on both sides of memorable fights both in PRIDE and the UFC. Over the 22-year career, the Brazilian scored wins over notable names such as Dan Henderson, Quinton Jackson, Kazushi Sakuraba and Michael Bisping, among others.
The 46-year-old’s last fight took place at Bellator 206, on September 2018, when got TKO’d in his fourth match against ‘Rampage’. Wandelei’s last win took place in March 2013, when he knocked out Brian Stann at UFC on Fuel TV 8.