Wanderlei Silva has lost four of his past five fights, and you wouldn't have wanted to miss a single one of them.
"The Axe Murderer's" dominant days are done, but he still brings it in the cage. His most recent performance wasn't one of his best. It ended decisively, like most of his matches, win or lose, when Quinton Jackson knocked him out 3:21 into the first round of their Dec. 27 bout at UFC 92.
"I lost my last fight by a technical error, an error that I've committed for a long time," Silva said. "I paid so much for it. I lost six months of work due to throwing open punches and took a punch on the chin."
To correct the error, Silva, 32, has returned to the basics. He has worked on his jab, footwork and takedowns.
"On top of that base, I hope to get rid of some defects, such as exposing myself too much," he said. "Sometimes I fight with my heart, then I open myself way too much. I'm trying to fix this and be aggressive in the same way, but in a more technical and more secure way. They are vices that I have had for too long and are not easy to correct. Because when the adrenaline hits and you start to give and take punches, you go on instinct. So, where possible, I'm structuring myself to leave these vices and acquire a new and more refined technique, to adapt to this new time of MMA and head back to the top because this is what I want. I'll really show a different game now in the next fight."
The next fight for Silva is June 13 in Cologne, Germany. He'll meet Rich Franklin in the UFC 99 main event.
"The fights I had seen of his before were only against Anderson Silva, and he could not show much because Anderson dominated him completely. But now I have the other fights to study and saw that he is a complete fighter who knows how to take down, fight standing on the feet, has good takedown defense and is well-rounded in submissions. I think he's a great opponent. He's a tough guy, and I'm training a lot, every day, sparring."
Franklin is yet another quality opponent for Silva, who has fought only top-notch opposition since his return to the Octagon. His stint so far has included Jackson, Keith Jardine and Chuck Liddell. At that level of competition, you're going to lose some fights. Losing or winning, however, isn't everything to Silva.
"I want to be tested until my limit," he said. "I want to face the best and always provide a good show for my fans. Sometimes I am criticized because of this. Of course we always want to win, and train for it, but I also care about the quality of my performance. I want to provide a great spectacle for those who are at home. A lot of people came and said, especially after that last fight, that I must retire. I am very young and I still have something to show. I listen to people, [when] I enter the Octagon, saying, 'We will watch this because this will be a good fight.' While people keep saying that, I will continue fighting."
Delivering a quality show would seem to be of particular importance against Franklin. The fight is the marquee bout in the UFC's first foray into Germany.
"I will not do bad. I know my responsibility," Silva said. "They gave me a good guy with an aggressive style of fighting, who likes to go forward. I do not run away from the challenge, do not run away from the game. I get it. I'll show all my heart, all my technique and make a great show for everybody. I will be there to knock out or be knocked out."
Gleidson Venga is a contributor to Sherdog.com.