There are many greats in the MMA world, but no list of them would be anywhere near complete without including the iconic Anderson “The Spider” Silva.
Growing up in Brazil, Anderson first started out in martial arts at an early age, becoming the true embodiment of a mixed martial artist with his expertise in numerous different disciplines.
When the world of professional MMA called, Anderson answered with some serious fists of fury, competing in a number of MMA promotions before rising to worldwide recognition in the UFC.
Like many of his MMA contemporaries, Anderson has also ventured into the world of action movies, including 2014’s “Tapped Out” and most recently the Hong Kong actioner “Invincible Dragon”. With Anderson taking on villainous duties, the movie pits him against homegrown action superstar Max Zhang for a showdown of diverse warrior styles. As he’s done throughout his MMA career, Anderson’s energy and commitment to the mission at hand is always pertinently obvious.
Today, the legend that is Anderson Silva sits down for a KFK exclusive interview looking back at elements of his career as well as a behind-the-scenes look at the making of “Invincible Dragon”, along with sharing his thoughts on the transition from MMA to action movies!
Hi Anderson, welcome to Kung Fu Kingdom! It’s great to connect with you, we hope you’re keeping well during the current pandemic?
Hi Brad, I’m doing well, thanks. It’s tough for everybody with the pandemic right now, but I’m just staying home and trying to stay safe.
We all are, that’s for sure. So, what do you think of our name Kung Fu Kingdom and our mission to inspire 100 million people around the world to take up martial arts?
It’s great, I think it sounds very inspiring!
Anderson Silva: Spider vs Dragon
Thanks, that’s very kind coming from a legend such as yourself!
Okay, let’s take a dip into your recent movie, “Invincible Dragon”. What can you share about becoming involved with the film and your experience of making it?
Well, “Invincible Dragon” is my first bigger movie, and my first time working on such an amazing set with an amazing crew. The director Fruit Chan put so much passion into it, so it was a very important step forward for me making a movie at this level in both acting and action.
On His Filmmaking Experience
I see. So, what’s the most memorable story you can relate about your experience of making the film?
Wow, there are so many! I think the biggest one was when Max came up to me and said “Hey don’t worry, just relax and enjoy the moment. The most important thing is to just do your best.” Fruit Chan also helped me a lot on the movie, and he’d give me the same kind of advice when he’d say things like “Okay, just relax and try to pull in something from your heart.” It was just an amazing, magical thing to be working in Hong Kong with this wonderful team.
Working with Hong Kong Action Star, Max Zhang
Nice to hear that. So how was the experience of filming your fights with an accomplished wushu athlete like Max Zhang?
Working with Max was so amazing. I’m a big fan, and we became good friends working on the movie. I feel very lucky to have been able to work with him.
Emotionally Driven Conflict, Fights & Injuries
What else can you share about the impact of the storyline given you were in the middle of your MMA career?
Well, it’s definitely different. Really, the focus of the story is on the conflict between Max and I. I lose our first fight in the story and my son dies because of it, so the story is all about revenge and passion and proving yourself.
Max is really talented. One time I asked him, “Max, have you ever thought about fighting in MMA?”, and he said “No, no, that’s not for me!” But Max is really talented, he’s a very good actor and a very good martial artist
Max is definitely at the top of his game right now. So, what would you say is your favourite action or fight scene in “Invincible Dragon”?
I’d say definitely the fight Max and I had on the tower. That scene was so exciting and awesome – it was so amazing for me.
What injuries or mishaps happened while making the film?
Nothing big for me, I had something hit my leg on my first day of filming, but it wasn’t serious. Max got injured a little more, he hurt his shoulder and his hands.
Anderson Silva’s Top 3 MMA Fights
Glad to hear it was nothing serious. Looking at your MMA career now, what would you say are your top three favourite fights of your MMA career?
Ah! I think my second fight in Shooto with Hayato Sakurai, my fight with Dan Henderson, and my first fight in the UFC with Chris Leben are probably the most favourite fights that I’ve had.
Anderson’s Favourite MMA Fighters
Notable bouts there! Looking at other fighters now, who would you say are some of your favourite MMA fighters of all time?
For me, B.J. Penn is the best fighter ever. Royce Gracie and “Minotauro” (Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira), are definitely among my favorite fighters.
Anderson Silva’s All-Time Favourite Martial-Arts Movies
Awesome all round. What are Anderson Silva’s all-time favourite martial arts films?
Great question! I love “Enter the Dragon”, it really inspired me a lot. I also really love “Bloodsport” with Jean-Claude Van Damme and the “Ip Man” movies. I love the whole series, but the last one I thought was really emotional and I really felt the connection between Bruce Lee and Ip Man, and Donnie Yen is perfect as Ip Man.
Fun & Leisure
Great classics there! So, what’s one geeky or interesting thing about you that people don’t know?
I love toys! I’m a big collector. My toy room is my favourite part of the house!(Both laugh)
…And well kinda leading into that, (we already think most people will know the answer but we’ll ask anyways) if you could be a superhero, who would you be and what superpower would you most like to have?
Spider-Man! (my nickname “The Spider” is certainly connected to him!) I’d love to have his spider powers!
Ambitions & Upcoming Projects…
Who doesn’t love Spidey eh! Looking ahead now, what other projects do you have coming up after “Invincible Dragon”?
I have a few in the works, and it’s just a matter of waiting for the pandemic to calm down or end. There are a few scripts in the works now, and I’m really excited to continue my career in movies outside of the cage.
Well, we definitely look forward to seeing all of them! On that note, what other dreams, goals and ambitions are you keen to accomplish?
I really just want to continue to do my best and try to inspire people to make the world a better place.
Anderson Silva’s Warrior Wisdom
Excellent. In connection with that, what warrior-wisdom quote or philosophy has helped you become who you are today?
Well for me, the most important thing in life is that you enjoy the moment. If you have something in your mind or your heart, try to do the best you can with it for other people as it can help inspire others.
I think the most important thing to realize is that we’re all the same, it doesn’t matter if you’re white or black or rich or poor, and we can all help each other become better.
Anderson Silva’s Message for KFK Followers & Fans
Wise and incisive words of wisdom there coming from someone with vast combat experience. Well, as we sign off, what special message would ‘The Spider’ like to share with Kung Fu Kingdom followers and your fans around the world right now?
I just want to say thank you to all of my fans. Keep your focus on improving yourself and your life. Always keep your mind strong for something good or something special, and remember that life is special so always try to enjoy it.
Endearingly great words to live by! Thank you so much for the privilege of this interview, Anderson. It’s really been a sublime pleasure speaking with a true MMA legend such as yourself. We wish you all the very best of success with all your action projects coming up!
Thank you Brad, really enjoyed speaking with you guys and Kung Fu Kingdom today!