Here's a bit of trivia for you: UFC on FUEL TV 6 co-headliner Thiago Silva – a top light-heavyweight contender who was once a single win away from a title shot – hasn't won a fight in more than three years.
Injuries and a drug suspension have played a part in the lack of recent success.
But Silva, a member of the fast-rising "Blackzilians" team, told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com
) a three-year stint with his former team also was a problem.
"Once I moved to American Top Team, my life started going the wrong way," Silva said of the super camp, which has produced some of MMA's biggest names. "It wasn't a good team. I think I lost three years of my life training the wrong way. Their coaches didn't have much to teach the athletes. I'm glad I found a real team now and I now have the ability to get back on track."
Silva (14-3 MMA, 5-3 UFC), who split with the famed camp earlier this year, now meets Stanislav Nedkov (12-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) on Saturday in UFC on FUEL TV 6's co-headliner. The event's main card airs on FUEL TV (9 a.m. ET) following Facebook prelims (7:15 a.m. ET) at CotaiArena in Venetian Macau Resort Hotel.
At the event, Silva looks to snap out a 1-3 skid, which also included a no-contest with Brandon Vera. That January 2011 fight, which originally was a win for Silva, was overturned after the 29-year-old fighter failed a post-fight drug test after he admitted to using an urine adulterant to try to the alter the test results.
After a late-notice booking and subsequent loss to Alexander Gustafsson in his April return from the suspension, Silva has been training with Rashad Evans, Tyrone Spong, Vitor Belfort, Anthony Johnson and other Blackzilians at Jaco Hybrid Training Center in Florida.
"We have a very strong and very complete team," Silva said. "We have wrestlers, strikers, jiu-jitsu. We have everything.
"I wasted three years of my life [at ATT]. But ultimately it was my choice, my decision. I paid the price. Now I have to get back in the race."
That's included a return to full health. In addition to ring rust, Silva said he was dealing with an injury prior to the Gustafsson fight, which resulted in a decision defeat.
"I took that fight in Sweden on short notice after [Antonio Rogerio Nogueira] became injured," he said. "Prior to that, I was idle for over one year due to a suspension. I don't think I was at 100 percent. Not only that, but I hurt my ribs five days before I boarded the plan to Sweden, so I didn't have the option to take the fight to the ground. I don't like to make excuses, but it's what happened nonetheless."
Silva, who subsequently pulled out of a July UFC 149 bout with Mauricio "Shogun" Rua due to an injury, said he's been able to get back to his old self. With a win over undefeated Nedkov on Saturday and his new team, he believes fans will see the former contender who won his first 13 fights, 12 by stoppage.
"All I have to do is get back to my old habits of working hard in the gym," he said. "We didn't train hard at ATT. I only noticed that after I left them."