Four LHWs Turned Down Fight W/ Anderson Silva before James Irvin Took It...
Old article, but I had to bring this up cuz I'm dying to know who turned down the fight. Anybody ever find out...
My first guess would be Machida.
After reading MMA Maniaís recent interview with James Irvin, we have new respect for the Sandman. The dude is just plain ballsy. Not only did he accept the UFN 14 fight against Anderson Silva when four others refused it, but the man actually has the stones to explain why Silva really isnít that much of a threat. For a guy selected to be the Spiderís first roadkill en route to a light-heavyweight title, Irvinís taking his long odds in strideÖ
Jesse Holland (MMAmania.com): Well you donít get Rashad Evans but now youíve got UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva.
James Irvin: Yeah thatís a pretty big jump, huh? I canít think of an opponent outside of Rampage or Liddell ó maybe even Fedor that would be more shocking. But hey, Dana White seems to repay the people who fight hard for himÖIím gonna stand there and trade and Iíll take one to give one. In this case I might have to take two to give one.
Can you take two from Anderson Silva? Can anyone?
Absolutely. He has one or two tools that are problematic [ed. note: understatement of the decade?] but I know what they are. I think heís more of a right-handed guy but he stands in a southpaw stance. He likes to lead with that left leg and heís comfortable now. Heís used to getting guys on the defensive. Thereís nothing he can do that Iím afraid of. Iím not afraid of him taking me down ó that would be a shame, wouldnít it? Heís a showman. He moved up to 205 to make a point. Maybe he feels like he ran through the 185 division and now heís gonna start picking off the 205 guys.
And youíre not taking that lightly I assume.
No way! If anything I kind of feel like a representative of the light heavyweight division. I want this guy to know there is a reason we have weight classes.
I suppose Irvin can have such a cavalier attitude when he knows that heíll be rewarded no matter what the outcome (i.e., whether heís hospitalized after the fight with Silva, or if he actually dies in the cage). Not only does Dana White repay guys who fight hard, he also shows love to ďreal ******* fighters.Ē And Irvin definitely considers himself a member of that fraternity:
What is your contract status with the UFC?
I have one more fight on my contract after this fight (with Silva) so usually we start negotiating after that. Iím sure it will weigh in my favor that they had four people turn down this fight with Anderson before I accepted.
Wait a second, four people were offered this fight and said no?
I was very surprised myself and to be honest I was kind of let down by one or two of the names. I thought they would have done very well in this fight.
Wow, who was the most surprising name?
Uh, well most of them are buddies of mine so Iím gonna leave that be. Iím sure it will come out over time. Not that it really matters, all that matters is who said yes. I didnít hesitate for a second. Itís funny I had actually talked to (UFC matchmaker) Joe Silva a week prior to all this and I told him I want to fight Wanderlei Silva and he told me Wanderlei wasnít fighting until December. I told him, in fact I begged him for a top ten opponent. A week later Iím fighting Anderson Silva.
If your career has suffered as many unfortunate setbacks as James Irvinís, you know that playing it aggressive (and a little bit insane) is the only way to stay afloat in the UFCís marquee division. There are about a dozen guys ahead of Irvin in the light-heavyweight food chain, but he can carve a niche for himself as the guy who will literally fight anybody. If he can survive a round with Anderson Silva and put in a somewhat impressive performance, I wouldnít be surprised if he gets fed to Lyoto Machida next. Because hey, nobody else wants to take that fight.
Speaking of which, Brandon Vera recently explained to MMA Junkie why he turned down a proposed matchup with Machida for his first fight at 205 pounds:
ďFor sure, I turned down the fight with Machida,Ē Vera said. ďDonít get me wrong. Iím down to fight Machida but not in my first time cutting down to 205 on four weeksí notice. I want to be ready for Machida. That bastardís good. I want to make sure Iíve got good sparring and a good game plan for Machida.
ďMachidaís not somebody you can just jump in the cage with and fight. I donít care who you are; if you think you can just beat Machida because youíre tougher than him, heís probably going to whoop your ass. Ö He doesnít go in to destroy people and finish them. Man, you canít hit him, and he just keeps touching you. People just get frustrated and pissed off. So, I did turn down the fight with Machida, but Iím down for sure to fight Machida, given good time.Ē
Marcus Aurelius: Tell me again, Maximus, why are we here?
Maximus: For the glory of the Empire, sire.
Baked, not fried... the healthy choice.