Anderson Silva last fought in Brazil in 2003.
Since then, he’s hit the ring in South Korea, England, Japan, Hawaii, the continental U.S., Canada and Abu Dhabi.
Naturally, the UFC middleweight champion is happy to be home for Saturday’s title defense against Yushin Okami at UFC 134 in Rio de Janeiro.
“It’s very emotional to think about ... fighting back here in my home in Brazil,” Silva said in a conference call. “You know, I’ve fought all over the world — and not just in UFC, but other events. I’ve found I feel that all this hard work and everything that I’ve done has kind of all led up to this moment.”
Silva, who has won 14 straight fights since a DQ loss to Okami in 2006, has been the main event all week in Rio. An open workout on Copacabana beach drew a throng of spectators and media, and his smiling face took up most of the cover of Thursday’s “O Dia” newspaper.
“The Spider” denied he feels any added pressure because of the scrutiny.
“I don’t have distractions ... going to be a good fight,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity for me to come to Brazil for the fans. I’m very happy. I’m very excited — and for pressure, I don’t know that I have pressure for this. I’m training for a long time. I trained for the best guys. I fight all the best guys in the world. I don’t have pressure.”