Enter Sandman

Written by Tom Ngo
July 15th, 2008

James “The Sandman” Irvin is doing unthinkable. While other fighters are running from current UFC Middleweight Champion, Anderson Silva, Irvin is jumping at the opportunity to take on Silva in his first Light Heavyweight fight for the organization.

“That was really disappointing to hear,” Irvin said about the other 205-pounders that declined the Silva bout.

It isn’t surprising that fighters wouldn’t want to be the guinea pig for Silva’s new Light Heavyweight experiment. He has dominated all challengers at the 185-pound division. But, Irvin isn’t afraid.

“I thought it was Wanderlei, someone we’ve asked for ever since he’s come here,” Irvin said about the possibility of fighting a Silva. “He’s a guy I’d been really wanting to fight. I thought my style would match up real good with his. I never imagined it would be Anderson.”

Only the true competitors are seeking an Anderson Silva fight. The ones that want to challenge themselves against the very best in the world to see where they stand. And, that is exactly why Irvin took the fight.

“He seemed so far out of the picture,” he said of Silva. “I don’t really deserve a shot against that guy right now. He’s pound-for-pound the greatest fighter on Earth right now. I’m going to make the most of my moment. I’m going to make the most of July 19 and I’m going to bring the best James Irvin I can that night.”

The only problem now is…he actually has to fight Silva. The term ‘be careful what you ask for’ certainly applies in this case, and Irvin knows it.

“He’s a scary, menacing guy,” Irvin stated. “Since I’ve taken the fight, a lot of people have come up to me and asked, ‘What’s your game plan? What’s your game plan?'”

Irvin’s answer is, “What kind of a game plan can I have against the guy? He’s better than me on the ground. He’s better than me standing up. What am I going to do? I don’t have to go in there and beat him at jiu-jitsu or beat him at Muay Thai. I can go in and fight the guy. I’ll go in and mix it all together and see if my style works with his or not.”

Either way, Irvin should be commended for taking this fight. Whether Silva is going to be able to beat on Irvin like he has the entire Middleweight division remains to be seen. But, with great risk comes great reward, and that is exactly why “The Sandman” entered.

Don’t forget to follow @5thRound on Twitter, Facebook and Google+!