Thales Leites is just days away from starring the world’s most lethal fighter dead in his eyes, and he couldn’t be any more chill about it.
“I don’t like to think too much about,” Leites said about the possibility of being Anderson Silva’s latest victim . “I know he is one of the best fighters in the world, but I can beat him. I know it.”
To ensure that he isn’t co-staring in the next Anderson Silva highlight reel, Leites knows that he needs to step into the Octagon prepared to attack Silva from any and all angles.
“I can fight him standing,” Leites stated of his diversified MMA game. “I will not be afraid to fight him in the standup game. I will never be afraid. I’ve been training my Muay Thai and boxing for five years and I think that I’m ready for any situation. I will be ready for anything.
“I know he wants to fight me standing to try and knock me out, but anything can happen. Cote was doing a good job with him closing the distance and keeping him down every time and moving forward in front of him. I’m thinking I have to do the same thing.”
He may talk a good game, but it is likely that Leites doesn’t intend to keep this fight standing for too long, as he is interested in challenging Silva’s ground skills.
In his 14 professional wins, Leites has submitted nine of his previous opponents.
“[Silva] is a jiu-jitsu black belt, too,” Leites said. “He’s very dangerous. He’s been able to submit some tough guys on the ground. But I think this is the weakest piece of his game. Probably the ground game is where I need to work in order to try and beat him. But I can beat him, too, with some ground-and-pound — and maybe, I don’t know, standing.”
Leites will be riding a five-fight winning streak into his title affair against the middleweight champ this Saturday at UFC 97, however Silva is in the midst of a seek-and-destroy mission that has him perfect through his last nine.
“The most important thing is I trust in me and believe in me,” said the confident Leites. “He has two arms and two legs like me and like everyone else. If I believe in me and trust me and do my job I can do it. That’s it.
“Nobody knows. [Gabriel Gonzaga] knocked (Mirko) ‘Cro Cop’ (Filipovic) out. Nobody expected that. So who knows?”
The 27-year old Leites will be entering this 5Round contest as a 6-to-1 underdog.