A thrilling knockout victory in the country where he became a star could’ve provided Las Vegan Wanderlei Silva the perfect opportunity to retire on top.
The 36-year-old doesn’t look like he will go in that direction, however.
“I fight one fight at a time right now, and I feel healthy,” Silva said during the postfight news conference in Japan after knocking out Brian Stann in the main event of the UFC on Fuel TV 8 card over the weekend. “I know sooner or later I’m going to need to stop the job, but I’m happy for getting this feeling, this energy from my fans (and making) my fans happy.”
Silva became a phenomenon while competing in the Pride Fighting Championships in Japan, largely due to his reckless style. He has struggled since the UFC bought the organization, but came up with a spectacular performance on Saturday night fighting in Japan for the first time since 2006.
He said he appreciated the UFC giving him a chance to fight in his native Brazil, which he did in June, and in front of the Japanese fans who made him so popular in the sport.
“If UFC gives me the opportunity to come back (to Japan), I (would be) happy to fight in Japan again,” he said. “I have the best moments of my life here, and today is one more.”
Silva pocketed an extra $100,000 for his performance in the victory. He got a $50,000 knockout of the night bonus, along with the $50,000 fight of the night bonus he and Stann received for the back-and-forth affair.
■ JOHNSON INJURY — UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson was scratched from his April 13 title defense against John Moraga last week with an undisclosed injury.
His coach Matt Hume appeared on “Inside MMA” on AXS TV to explain that Johnson suffered a torn labrum in his shoulder that will keep him out of action for at least 12 weeks. Johnson is expected to have surgery this week.
The fight was due to headline The Ultimate Fighter 17 Finale card at Mandalay Bay. The organization announced that a matchup of bantamweight contenders Urijah Faber and Scott Jorgensen will replace the main event.
Faber just submitted Ivan Menjivar in the first round of a bout at UFC 157 on Feb. 23.
The event will also include the title bout for the current season of “The Ultimate Fighter” and a women’s fight between Miesha Tate and Cat Zingano.
■ ROUSEY’S FUTURE — UFC women’s champion Ronda Rousey’s star is shining brightly after a highly successful debut in the first-ever female fight in the organization.
Her role as a sex symbol and media darling have led to inevitable speculation that she could take the Gina Carano route and leave MMA for the entertainment business.
The Hollywood Reporter broke news last week that Rousey had signed with William Morris Endeavor, one of the most powerful talent agencies.
Several reports also indicated Rousey has been offered a role in a future “Hunger Games” sequel.
UFC president Dana White said on “UFC Tonight” last week that Rousey will make more money fighting than she could in feature films at this stage of her career.
“I don’t want to take away any opportunities from Ronda, but at the same time, her window of opportunity as a professional athlete is really narrow,” he said. “She could make a zillion movies when she retires. Where she’s really going to get the money is here fighting.
“I don’t care if she’s the lead role in ‘The Hunger Games 2,’ she would not make anywhere near — I mean, not even in the universe — to the money she makes fighting.”
■ LION FIGHT 9 — Artem Levin will take on Simon Marcus for the Lion Fight light heavyweight title on a Muay Thai card at the Hard Rock Hotel on March 15.
The event, which also features a female bout between Tiffany Van Soest and Natalie Yip, will air live on AXS TV.
Contact reporter Adam Hill at email@example.com or 702-224-5509. Follow him on Twitter: @adamhilllvrj.