A ‘white belt’ in acting, UFC legend Anderson Silva talks ‘completely different world’ of movies


Anderson Silva is living the dream.

A former UFC middleweight champion, “The Spider” finally had the chance to compete in boxing. After years of voicing his desire to compete in the squared circle, he parted ways with the company to set up matches with legends and celebrities. Yet his life-long goal has always been to act.

Silva won roles in Brazilian movies during his run as a UFC champ before he secured one of his first gigs in the U.S., working on an episode of NCIS: Los Angeles in 2014.

A few years have passed, and now “The Spider” is fully focused on making it as an actor.

“It’s two different worlds, fighting and acting,” Silva said on a recent episode of MMA Fighting podcast Trocação Franca. “For you to do a fight scene, people will be like, ‘But this guy fights, it’s easier for him,’ but it’s not. It’s actually harder, because you have to do the right movement, the right angle, you can’t go over the camera, all these different technical details. But it’s super cool. It’s a challenge for someone that loves cinema and action movies like me.”

Silva’s most recent film, “Murder City,” premiered earlier this year on Tubi; he played the role of a bodyguard. His previous work on “Lord of the Streets” (2022) also featured former MMA champions A.J. McKee and Quinton Jackson.

“There are new things every day that go by,” Silva said. “I’m working on two projects at the same time now, and it’s crazy. Two completely different characters, so you have to study and act a lot, because you have to flip from one character to the other. It’s very cool. It was always my dream to be an actor in action movies, so this opportunity I’m getting is thanks to my hard work and dedication. It’s not easy, man. I usually say I’m a white belt – I’m still walking.”

Silva made a name for himself in the MMA world as one of the greatest fighters all-time with epic UFC wins, twice finishing bitter rival Chael Sonnen and stopping fellow legends Vitor Belfort, Dan Henderson, Forrest Griffin and Rich Franklin. But he doesn’t think his illustrious MMA career is the reason why he’s getting such movie opportunities.

“Fighting has given me many things,” Silva said, “It has given me incredible and fantastic things, like the opportunity to travel and know the whole world. But I think that my determination – abdicating from things – has given me this opportunity to show my work as an actor. It’s two different worlds. Fighting doesn’t help me in absolutely anything in acting. Sometimes I get to the set, and people say, ‘OK, forget about that, it won’t work. You won’t be able to do that, because this is how it has to be done,’ so fighting doesn’t have much to do with it.”

“Acting is a completely different world,” he continued. “When you go to an audition, fighting has nothing to do with it. Fighting helps with the discipline, but your name and story you bring with yourself, it gets to a point where it doesn’t fit in this new world I’m entering. Everybody knows me for my fighting career, of course. Most of the directors are big fans and whatnot, but it’s completely different when you’re on set. You either act right, the way it should be, or you’re out. They find another actor.

“You have to be good and dedicated, pay attention to everything that is going on around you. You’ll probably think you’re already good, but it’s not good yet. You have to do the scenes right, you have to act alongside everybody else on set, the actors, and show truth on the scene. You can’t just show up, do your scenes and say your lines, but don’t show truth in your character. That is kind of crazy. It’s very hard.”


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