Former UFC heavyweight title challenger Antonio Silva is not only ready, but looking forward to beginning a new chapter of his career at Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship. After dedicating 14 years of his life to mixed martial arts, ‘Bigfoot’ is now only weeks away from his debut at BKFC 8, against fellow Octagon veteran Gabriel Gonzaga.
With his last MMA bout being over two years in the past, Silva tells Ag Fight he took the time off to finally deal with some nagging injuries and now, at 40, feels as healthy as ever to put on a top performance against Gonzaga.
“It’s a new experience, it’s a good thing. I like the feeling, the fight adrenaline, I like to feel it in my body. I have years of martial arts experience, I began when I was five years old. I spent two years on the sidelines in order to recover from personal and professional situations, I had knee surgery. I stopped so I could recover 100%. I’m very happy and looking forward to do what I love the most, with a good mindset and a healthy body. I’m physically and mentally well, which I think is the most important. I’m sure I’ll come back firing on all cylinders, I’ll be the Bigfoot I’ve always been.”
Although his opponent is most known for his Brazilian jiu-jitsu skills, Silva points out that Gonzaga also holds impressive knockout wins in his MMA career, most famously his head kick KO of Mirko ‘Cro Cop’ Filipovic back in 2007. So, despite it being a boxing match, Bigfoot intends to approach it carefully, because at heavyweight one shot is all it takes.
“Napao deserves all my respect, he’s a jiu-jitsu legend. He has sharp jiu-jitsu, but this is a boxing match. He also deserves my respect as a striker, he’s a guy who knocked out Cro Cop. He’s a good striker, he’s a heavyweight so I can’t be careless at all. I’m prepared. I had a strong camp at Pitbull Brothers.”
In his last five MMA fights, Antonio Silva (19-12) suffered four knockout losses and dropped a unanimous decision. His last win came in August 2015, when he TKO’d Soa Palelei at UFC 190. Now, Bigfoot is expected to take on Gabriel Gonzaga at Bare Knuckle Fighting Championhip 8’s main event, on October 19, in Tampa, Florida.