Bruno Silva would take pride in retiring Chris Weidman, but hopes he continues career after UFC Atlantic City

Chris Weidman has a long history with Brazilian fighters in the UFC, and Bruno Silva will feel special if he’s the last of that lineage to face Weidman at UFC Atlantic City.

Silva and Weidman battle on the main card of Saturday’s UFC show in New Jersey, and “Blindado” admitted in an interview with MMA Fighting’s Trocação Franca podcast that retiring Weidman in “the biggest fight of my career” would be unique considering Weidman’s place in the sport and because “I always talk about [chasing] legacy” over belts.

“I fight for something different that many other fighters,” Silva said. “People look too much at the belt. I see the path to the belt instead. You want to become UFC champion by beating five nobodies? Or you’d rather become UFC champion after 20 fights, fighting the best? I’d obviously choose the hard road. In a few years, when I look back at my record — it has [Alexander] Shlemenko, [Artem] Frolov, Brad Tavares, Alex ‘Poatan’ [Pereira], Brendan Allen, Chris Weidman. Look at the guys I’ve fought!”

“It’s different. It’s the mission,” he continued. “I prefer the hard road of legacy than the short road just to have something around my waist. I don’t even know if that would make me happy, right? Between happiness and a belt, I prefer happiness. The belt is the consequence of my work and it will come. But I want to live the moment, enjoy life and my career as much as I can. I want more. There’s still a lot to happen in my career. If his [career] is in the end — and I don’t want it to end, I want him to fight more after this one — but to stop fighting is his decision, his family and his body, so I hope he’s at peace with his family.”

Silva said he had just finished sparring in Curitiba, Brazil, when his manager called with the news that he’d face Weidman on March 30. Silva and his team celebrated instantly, jumping and screaming in joy at getting booked against a legend.

Weidman has won six of seven bouts against Brazilians in MMA, most notably with title wins over Anderson Silva, Lyoto Machida, and Vitor Belfort. “Bilndado” hopes to join Ronaldo Souza as the lone Brazilian to spoil that trend — and wants to do it by knockout.

“Weidman has always had the same game,” Silva said. “He’s not a striker but has always had good wrestling, a good head. The difference is age and injuries. Not so much the age, he’s not that much older than me — I’m 34 and he’s 39 — but he was in so many five-round fights and it wears out the body. So if he’s out to end his career against me, it ends with a loss. I want a knockout. It’s going to be my 20th knockout, and it’s a huge name on my résumé.”

Weidman has dealt with many injuries over the years, including recent leg fractures, but “Blindado”, a ferocious striker, guaranteed he won’t target his foe’s leg right off the bat.

“People keep saying, ‘Kick his leg, kick his leg,’ but Chris Weidman has probably trained that because he knows it’s a hole [in his game],” Silva said. “If I go for that straight away, I’ll give him an easy takedown. Imagine, a minute into the fight and he puts me down and I have to spend a ton of energy to get out of that, and for something unnecessary. I want to end it on the feet, and I feel my hunger will make the difference in this fight.”

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