Earlier this week ‘The Spider’ revealed that one of the reasons the match was far less exciting than some of his previous bouts was due to him taking it easy on Leites, who he considered a “friend.”
“There’s no such thing as holding back. I want to finish as soon as possible. The only time I did it was because he was a friend of mine. It was against Thales Leites. We went until the last round because he’s a friend of mine and I respect him”, Anderson said.
Now Leites has shot back at the champ, saying in a letter to Tatame.com that he doesn’t know what Silva is talking about because they “we were never friends.”
“First of all, I would like to say Anderson has never been or went to Nova Uniao. I have never seen him around, we were never friends, only professional colleagues. No doubt he is a great fighter. If he says he was easy on me because he considers me to be his ‘friend’, I don’t agree. The fight was not finished because neither of us could do it. People criticized me a lot after the fight with Anderson, I really should have done more and gone for it but the guys who came after me did not do things much different. The ones who tried to stand-up with him got exposed and were knocked out and the one who used the game plan of taking him down was defeated on the judges’ decision, like me. I think it’s funny a champion that always prays on the interviews to respect the other and martial arts to say something like that. I am a fighter and I respect everyone, I know what a fighter goes through to get there. We all have good and bad moments in our career, after all our like is just a big rollercoaster with ups and downs. But we have got to stay humble and stay quiet about subjects that do not add anything. There is no superman, we are all human beings”.
There are more comments from Nova União head-coach, Andre Pederneiras, in the Tatame article if your interested in reading. Basically, Pederneiras says he asked Silva not to “take it easy” on any of their fighters if he should face someone from the Nova União gym again.
Since UFC 97, Silva has gone on to defend his UFC belt six more times, while Leites fought for the UFC one more time and was dismissed after a split decision loss to Alessio Sakara.
Leites is currently 6-1 in his last seven bouts post-UFC, earning a victory over Matt Horwich from a previous loss in this run at a Amazon Forest Combat 2 event in Brazil this past March.