David Maialetti / Philadelphia Daily News
Thursday, Aug. 6, 2009 | midnight
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PHILADELPHIA — For any UFC fans still upset about Anderson Silva’s “boring” performances in his last two fights, don’t be surprised to see the “The Spider” back to his old highlight-reel tricks Saturday night.
At least that’s the vibe Silva projected at an intense, playful and highly entertaining workout Wednesday at Loews hotel. If the 45-minute session serves as any indication of how his bout against Forrest Griffin at UFC 101 might play out, then the middleweight champ could be leaving everyone inside the Wachovia Center on the edge of their seats.
When he wasn’t jogging and joking around with his Anderson Silva Muay Thai college teammates, who were all decked out in matching adidas-style black jump suits, Silva was playfully tugging on his manager/translator Ed Soares’ ear.
Silva got a couple of fake punches in on a fellow training buddy who never saw them coming because the 185-pound champ from Brazil was actually sparring with a different friend — but paused mid-action to deliver the faux blows.
Constant wise cracks rang out in Portuguese, as did one high-pitched Michael Jackson impersonation.
But the last practical joke that the man UFC President Dana White claims is the world’s top pound-for-pound fighter came at the expense of the media.
As each reporter asked a question, Silva held a pretend microphone to their mouths, then to Soares’ lips, then back to his own mouth. He continued the skit as media members cracked up throughout the 10-minute interview.
“He’s relaxed like this all the time,” Soares said of Silva, who boasts a 24-4 overall mixed martial arts mark and holds the UFC record for consecutive wins at nine.
That’s why fans and White couldn’t understand how the man who looked so dominant in wins over premiere UFC fighters in Rich Franklin and Dan Henderson could look rather pedestrian in his last two victories over Patrick Côté and Thales Leites.
The stinging criticism caught Silva off guard.
“I thought my fights were great last time, but most people weren’t too happy with my performances,” Silva said. “This is the fight they thought would be the kind of fight that people want to watch.”
Griffin, a 3-to-1 underdog, doesn’t mind playing the role of Rocky in the “City of Brotherly Love,” and said, who knows, he might even catch a break.
“Somebody’s got to beat him sooner or later. He might break an ankle on the way to the cage, you never know,” said a smirking Griffin, who was equally as comical as his Brazilian counterpart during the media workouts.
White won’t pick a side. Griffin’s is the company’s poster boy, who with his win over Stephan Bonnar on the first season of “The Ultimate Fighter” launched the UFC to new heights.
Silva is White’s pound-for-pound king, despite his public apology after the Spider’s unanimous decision victory over Thales Leites at UFC 97 in April where fans inside the Bell Centre in Montreal booed the action the entirety of the bout.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen when Forrest fights Anderson Silva but I know this, Forrest going to go after him,” White told Yahoo Sports!
“Silva is going to have to end the fight.”
Silva denied reports that he was bored because of a seeming lack of competitors at the 185-pound weight class but jokingly told a reporter that “Dana’s the boss.”
Griffin said he believes Silva will push the action because of the negative press he received from the last two fights.
Soares said Silva would play his own game, letting the action dictate the strategy. He also admitted that while Silva never showed his emotions, the landslide of criticism upset him.
“Of course he was hurt. He’s only human,” Soares said. “He’s got a heart and feelings like anyone else.
“But he’s didn’t show it. Now it’s in the past and he’s focused totally on Forrest.”
Which could be the scariest fact facing the former 205-pound champ.
Andy Samuelson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-948-7837.