Erick Silva is one of the UFC's brightest welterweight prospects, and he'll be facing the biggest test of his career when he meets former UFC welterweight title challenger Jon Fitch at UFC 153. Silva (14-2, 1 NC) recently did an interview with Tatame where he discussed how he's preparing for Fitch. Basically, he's working on his wrestling a lot:
Actually, Rafael Feijao and Ronaldo Jacare are guys who fight well against wrestlers and, well, I I've been training with them. We have a good game to block wrestlers and it's been working. Minotouro Nogueira is bringing wrestlers from the United States to train with us and also be sparring too. Every time I train with them I feel it's easier to defend the takedowns because I'm doing the right defense, on the fence. It's been working out. Another thing is that wrestlers don't expect you to use Judo takedowns, so we're investing on that too. Don't be surprised if I take Jon Fitch down (laughs). We're training it a lot.
I'm pretty sure he's kidding about taking Fitch down. I hope he is, because he should understand that Fitch isn't just a wrestler. He's a black belt in Guerrilla Jiu-Jitsu, which integrates BJJ and Judo. In other words, his Judo takedowns aren't likely to work at all. Anyway, Silva goes on to talk about what he thinks his place in the division will be if he's able to get by Fitch:
Well, actually a win over Jon Fitch brings me closer to the belt. I'm sure that, right after this fight, after I beat him up. I'll figure on the top of the division. Even knowing there are people on the like I guess that after one, two more fights I really can fight for the title.
I'm not sure if he'd be two fights away from a title shot even with a win over Fitch considering the depth of the division (which is something he actually addressed later in this same interview), but he's definitely one of the most skilled guys to come along in a while so I wouldn't put it past him. Fitch is a completely different animal than Charlie Brenneman though.