Anderson Silva awaits NAC hearing, focused on fighting until 2020

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Anderson Silva may be on temporary suspension by the Nevada Athletic Commission (NAC), but that’s not stopping him from planning ahead.

Silva defeated Nick Diaz via unanimous decision at UFC 183 in January but was afterwards revealed to have tested positive for several performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) in both pre and post-fight tests. Initially, “The Spider” was vehement in denying the use of steroids, insisting, “I always played clean, I was never a cheater.”

Then, in February, the UFC released a statement suggesting Silva was going to admit to the use of banned substances.

“The Nevada State Athletic Commission disciplinary hearing for former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva does not have a set date in March, but according to a story published by Brazilian website UOL on Saturday, the MMA icon and his team are preparing his defense, with Silva reportedly planning to admit to using several banned substances.

“The report makes clear that Silva will insist that his use of performance enhancing drugs wasn’t to gain an advantage on his opponent, but rather as an aid in his recovery from the broken leg suffered in his December 2013 loss to Chris Weidman. Lawyers will also argue that the amount of the substances found in his system were minimal, thus giving him no advantage over his January 31 opponent, Nick Diaz.”

Silva (34-6 MMA, 17-2 UFC), was due to appear before the commission late last month, but the hearing was pushed back in order to allow time for laboratory analysis of the ‘supplements’ used by the former champion in his recovery from injury and in preparation for UFC 183.

“All the stuff I used during the treatment for my broken leg and my supplements were taken to the commission’s lab to be examined so we can find out what happened,” Silva told fans and media after a seminar in Rio de Janeiro this week. “I don’t know what happened. It was a surprise for me as well.”

Regardless of the lab results or whether he is cleared by the commission, Silva has no plans to return in 2015.

“I will be back next year,” Silva said. “Coming back next year was my plan anyway, so it’s normal.”

When asked about the multi-fight contract he signed at the beginning of this year, Silva spoke about his intentions to compete in the UFC for another five years, fighting several times a year.

“That was an offer from Dana and Lorenzo,” he said. “The only serious injury I had was on my leg now. I spoke with my team, we discussed everything and saw that it was possible. We’re training now focused on fighting for five more years. I already have my schedule for the next five years. If we can fight more, two or three times a year, it’s better.”

These words may come as a surprise to some given Silva’s recent troubles and the fact that he has often spoken of pressure from his family to retire. Rather than hang up the gloves, it seems the former middleweight kingpin has plans to work his way back to the top. He doesn’t plan on taking any shortcuts, however.

“First of all, I have to earn it,” Silva said of fighting for the UFC title one more time. “The fighters who are up there earned that spot, to fight for the UFC title, and I have to conquer my space in the division again. Step by step, starting from zero. I don’t know if I will have enough time for that, but if I have the opportunity to earn it, it’s possible.”

Silva, 39, remains suspended pending a formal hearing with the NAC next month.