Anderson Silva is still up to old tricks, such as giving a one-word answer to a drawn-out question.
The real question is whether the former long-reigning Ultimate Fighting Championship middleweight champion will return to the stunts that helped cost him his belt this year against Chris Weidman.
Weidman and Silva’s rematch is the main event of UFC 168 at MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Dec. 28.
On Wednesday, at his gym in Torrance, the 38-year-old Silva (33-5) spoke to reporters about returning to fight Weidman (10-0) following the new champion’s second-round knockout of Silva on July 6.
Silva was subjected to criticism following the bout after engaging in theatrics including dancing, hitting himself and shuffling his feet before Weidman pounced, decked him with a punch and finished him.
Silva was asked to clarify whether he was goofing around or trying to irritate Weidman and draw him into position to be vulnerable to either a big kick or strike.
“When I go inside the ropes to fight, I’m not joking, because there’s danger,” Silva said. “The last fight, I have the fault of Weidman winning.
“... Some days, you have a good day for working, some days you have a bad day for working. The last fight was my bad day.”
In training for the rematch, Silva said his focus has been on honing his mental strength, and he predicted he’ll be at his best in the fight.
“I don’t focus on my last fight. I focus on this fight. This is a new one for me,” he said.
Will there be any Muhammad Ali-like theatrics as there was previously?
“Maybe,” Silva said.
In the accompanying video interview, Silva said it was a “combination of mistakes” that forced him to surrender the middleweight belt he won in October 2006.
“He did what he had to do, which was win, so you’ve got to respect him,” Silva said of Weidman.
Told that Weidman said on a Tuesday conference call he was going to finish Silva, the former champion said, “I’m scared.”
Asked about last week’s title-vacating decision by long-reigning welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre, Silva said he didn’t know why St-Pierre chose that path after his tough November fight against Johny Hendricks rather than volunteer quickly for the rematch like Silva did.
“Georges St-Pierre is a great fighter who’s having personal problems that people have to respect,” Silva said.