Bruno Silva recalls working as a bouncer when UFC on ESPN 54 foe Chris Weidman KO’d Anderson Silva

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. – Bruno Silva still has vivid memories from the night Chris Weidman scored one of the biggest upsets in UFC history.

Nearly 11 years after Weidman ended the longest winning streak in octagon history with a second-round knockout of Anderson Silva at UFC 162 in July 2013, Bruno Silva (23-10 MMA, 4-4 UFC) is now set to take on Weidman (15-7 MMA, 11-7 UFC) in Saturday’s UFC on ESPN 54 featured bout at Boardwalk Hall (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN+).

The matchup is a dream come true as Weidman is a fighter who once felt so far away in terms of career accomplishment.

“In July of 2013 – that’s when Weidman fought Anderson for the first time – when he knocked him out, I was still living in Northern Brazil,” Silva told MMA Junkie through an interpreter at Wednesday’s media day. “I was working as a security guard. I fought in a grand prix that night in a tournament. I had two fights that night, and I knocked out both guys. Then I rushed him to watch the Anderson Silva fight and we all saw what happened. Eleven years later, here I am fighting that guy in a big arena in the United States, in his region. That gives you an idea.

“It’s the biggest fight of my career. I’m fighting a guy who is a former champion, a legend. It’s an honor. I’m really blessed. It’s really an honor.”

Silva has been watching Weidman since that night he first captured gold. It’s been a rollercoaster of a ride, with Weidman losing the belt, going through a tumultuous losing skid and suffering one of the nastiest leg breaks in MMA history in April 2021.

UFC on ESPN 54 will represent Weidman’s second fight since returning from the gruesome broken leg. He dropped a unanimous decision to Brad Tavares at UFC 292 in August, and UFC CEO Dana White subsequently begged him to retire.

Weidman, 39, opted against that request, however, and returns this weekend in what could be a do-or-die showdown with Silva, 34. It’s hard to gauge where the former champion is truly at, but Silva is taking him seriously.

“MMA is a sport where everyone goes through highs and lows,” Silva said. “It’s very few guys who don’t go through that. I’m more cautious of an experienced guy than a new guy, and I’m sure he has all his weapons and all that. But I’m going in there to fight Chris Weidman and to knock him out.”

As much pressure as there appears to be on Weidman, it’s an important moment for Silva, too. “Blindado” enters the event on a two-fight losing skid and is 1-4 in his past five fights overall dating back to March 2022.

“I’m not looking at it with a sense of urgency like my contract is depending on this or that I’m on the cutting board for this fight,” Silva said. “But I think a knockout over Chris Weidman is going to say a lot more than a knockout over anyone else. So that’s what I’m looking at right now. It’s a guy that I’ve always wanted to fight regardless of what event it would’ve been in. That’s kind of how I’m looking at it. It’s a fight that I want and want to win by knockout.”

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC on ESPN 54.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie