For over 20 years, Alex “Little Rock” Silva has been a devoted Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) practitioner. Like a compass, “the gentle art” has shown Silva his True North.
BJJ helped the former ONE Strawweight World Champion navigate a trying childhood fraught with bullying and poverty. It gave him direction, it gave him drive, and it gave him purpose. But also, it gave him a path.
That path has led to a second shot at the ONE Strawweight World Title – Joshua “The Passion” Pacio’s to be exact. And on Friday, 31 January, at ONE: FIRE & FURY, the Brazilian will try to exit the Mall Of Asia Arena wearing gold once again.
Ahead of his showdown with the current strawweight king in Manila, Philippines, Silva reveals why just a year ago a second run at the World Title seemed impossible.
“It was a bad period for me from 2018 to 2019,” he recalled. “There was definitely pressure on my shoulders to win.”
More than a year had passed since Silva last recorded a submission, and “Little Rock” knew it was time to return to his roots in BJJ.
“It’s only normal that when you are not doing well, like when I had three straight defeats, to constantly be overthinking what you can do better or what you did wrong,” he said.
“But then, I realized before all of this, I didn’t think. I just went out there and did what I know.”
In times of turbulence and difficulties, Silva could always rely on his BJJ acumen, but it became an afterthought with all the doubts clouding his mind.
“I got sidetracked with all the different stuff I was trying to bring into my game, like striking, when actually it didn’t have to be that complicated,” he said.
“I had friends who reminded me, ‘You’re the best grappler I know,’ and that made me realize I had turned my back on what I always had inside, which was my BJJ skills.”
This epiphany reignited Silva’s confidence in his abilities, and the 37-year-old righted the ship. He refocused on training BJJ, and his efforts were soon rewarded.
In his next match against notable grappler Stefer “The Lion” Rahardian in August 2019, Silva dominated on the ground and finished his Indonesian opponent in the second round with a slick armbar.
Silva had finally gotten back in his groove and was feeling like his old self.
“Little Rock” has also learned much from his recent experiences, and he now carries those lessons with him every day.
“Now that I’m back and in a great place in my life, I feel happier,” Silva said.
“I used to rush everything, but now I just focus on one day at a time, one match at a time. That is how I earned this title shot.
“BJJ has taught me more than just skills on the ground, it’s also my experience as a competitor, failing and trying again and never giving up. I am grateful for all that has happened, good or bad.”
“All I have to do now is to go to Manila, do what I do best, and win.
Will Silva complete his comeback with a World Title triumph?
To find out, catch ONE Championship’s ONE: FIRE & FURY next Friday, 31 January, in Manila, Philippines.
Download the ONE Super App to catch all the action live and for free.
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