Wanderlei Silva is officially retiring from combat sports after more than 25 years of competition. Known by MMA fans as ‘The Axe Murderer,’ Silva announced his retirement during an appearance on MMA Fighting’s Portuguese-language podcast Trocação Franca.
While the former PRIDE FC middleweight champion left the door open for potential boxing bouts, Silva is putting much of his focus on his son 19-year-old first-born son Thor Silva. He is preparing for his amateur MMA debut in Brazil on September 25th.
“Only those who have sons know how it’s like watching them fight,” Silva told MMA Fighting. “This feeling is completely different, but it’s very exciting because we know what it’s like and everything that can happen in a fight. I know where he can go, I’ve been through it all, and I know that what really counts is hard work. You may be the son of [someone important] or have as much money as you have, but hard work and training is what counts in there, and thank God he has behaved like a professional already.”
At 48-years-old, Wanderlei Silva closes the door on an epic career that saw the Brazilian fight against some of the sport’s biggest stars in PRIDE, UFC, and Bellator. Debuting in 1996, ‘The Axe Murderer’ holds wins over Dan Henderson, Kazushi Sakuraba, Michael Bisping, and Cung Le. His second-round knockout of Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson at PRIDE 28 was voted by Sports Illustrated as the Knockout of the Decade.
Wanderlei Silva’s Legacy Will Be Carried on by His Son, Thor Silva
While Thor Silva has competed in Muay Thai completion, his first foray into MMA will be at Music Fight Show 2 in Brazil in September. Speaking about his son’s development, Wanderlei Silva discussed the importance of getting wins over simply being a fan-friendly fighter.
“If you can put on a show, great, but the sport is made of wins,” Silva said. “There’s no point being a great athlete that doesn’t win. You must win. You went there, you have to win. The secret of having success in this sport is winning.
“His main characteristic is that he’s brave and fearless. Last time he fought, I told him, ‘Son, go there and hit him. It’s better to hit first than getting hit.’ The fight started and he let his hands go. It’s a great thing that he’s brave and believes in his training to be prepared for everything.”
As the son of a combat sports legend, Thor Silva will likely have an easier path to getting featured in a major fight promotion. While it’s too soon to speculate where he may end up, debuting as part of a stadium event in his home country presents a huge opportunity to show off his skills to the world.
“There are many great promotions today like Bellator, RIZIN, and UFC, great promotions that give opportunity for the athlete to show their work and fight the best,” said Silva. “We’ll see how his career progresses and the opportunities that will present themselves, and we’ll choose the best path.”