Antonio Silva made it through to the semi-finals of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix by defeating the legend Fedor Emelianenko. He expected to meet Alistair Overeem in the final four, but Overeem's complicated departure and subsequent pickup by the UFC led to Daniel Cormier being inserted into the fight instead. Bigfoot recently spoke to Tatame about his new opponent, and about his rivalry with someone on the other side of the GP bracket, Josh Barnett. On his change of opponent:
Yeah. Everything’s changed. I was fighting a striker, then they told me it’d be Daniel, who’s a good athlete, has fought eight times and won every single one... He’s a wrestler, a guy who knows how to bang, has good takedowns. We didn’t have the chance to see him fighting on the ground yet, so… I’m doing great on the stand-up game, thanks’ God and (Luis Carlos) Dorea, who fixed some of the mistakes I used to make and helped me a lot. Dos Santos gave me many tips too.
He's apparently not that worried about Cormier's vaunted wrestling skills:
I’ll tell you this: I don’t worry about him taking me down, even because it won’t be that easy for him to take me down because I train with many wrestlers, like Rashad (Evans), I used to train with Josh, who spent six weeks with us. He’s a four-time national Wrestling champion (of the United States). I’ve trained a lot with him, we did many sparring, he tried to take me down many times…
MMA ain’t no Wrestling. We must respect, there’re many good wrestlers in MMA, but it all starts with the both of us standing up. And I’m doing great. Thanks’ God I had De La Riva there with me, he actually just tweeted me: ‘good luck in sweeping him’. He taught me good sweeps. Let’s do it! If he takes me down, I’ll put these sweeps coach De La Riva and coach Everaldo taught me into action and let’s see what happens.
He talks a little about wanting Barnett to win on the other side of the bracket, despite Barnett wanting Cormier to beat him. He then responds to Barnett's statement that size is the only advantage Silva holds:
That’s funny, each one is better in one area. Dos Santos’ advantage is his hands, which are heavy. Nogueira’s advantage is his ground game, which is pretty sharp. Each one is good in one area. He said my advantage is my size, so let it be. Let’s go there and show him sometimes size ain’t just gonna do it.
Personally, I want to see a Barnett/Silva final as well. Nothing against Sergei Kharitonov or Cormier, I just think it is the most interesting combination. This hype for this card has been absolutely buried by UFC announcements all week, and I hope that people don't forget how good these GP fights are going to be.