Growing up in Brazil, it was natural for Victor Silverio to start training in jiu-jitsu at a young age. However, he had no idea the impact it would eventually have on his life.
"I guess in the beginning, it was just something that people did, and I did it, but still I feel like it grew into more of like a deeper passion – more than when I started, for sure," Silverio said. "I started seeing different things about the sport that I didn't really see before. Before maybe I thought it was just like fighting and being able to defend myself, which was the reason that I started. But then I felt like I fell in love for the competition side of it, too."
Silverio would eventually move to the U.S., landing in Florida to help teach jiu-jitsu and continue his own training regimen.
"I had some good training in Florida," Silverio said. "I was training with Gilbert Burns, AJ Sousa, Mikey Musumeci – so some good training, but it just wasn't consistent. It wasn't like something that I could have every day to become a world champion, which was my main goal."
Silverio then relocated to California to train at Gracie Barra Northridge under the legendary Romulo Barral. Silverio's focus was jiu-jitsu, but he also knew he would eventually make the move to MMA.
"It was always something that I was kind of floating to, and it was actually the reason that I started jiu-jitsu," Silverio said. "I knew that I needed to choose something. Jiu-jitsu was the path to it, but I always had an idea of MMA in me, like in the back of my mind. It was just like, 'Oh, I'm going to be a black belt first. I'm going to be a world champ, and then I'll get into MMA,' you know?
"Eventually, I knew that I was going to start training, and then at one point, like two-and-a-half years ago, I was just like, 'You know what? It's time now. I've just got to do it.'"
Silverio sought out the help of Rafael Cordeiro and Kings MMA, putting him on the mats with top-tier talent. UFC lightweight contender Beneil Dariush was first to bring him to the gym, and Silverio said it was quite the experience.
"I remember my first week of training when I was at Kings with Master Rafael, that day Kamaru Usman was visiting," Silverio recalled. "A lot of guys were visiting. Benny brought me to the gym, so that was my first day, so I'm like, 'Benny is probably going to take care of me. It's not going to be crazy training,' but then all these guys are there and Benny just disappeared, and I'm just by myself, so I was like by myself thinking, 'Oh sh-t. OK, so I guess I'm doing this."
Silverio said the process of learning has been reinvigorating, and he's enjoying his time in the gym. Holding a black belt since 2013, Silverio is much more of a novice when it comes to MMA.
On Friday, Silverio (1-0) competes for just the second time as a professional. taking on Isaack Watkins (0-0) in a lightweight matchup on the prelims of CFFC 107 at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City. The bout streams on Facebook and YouTube ahead of the evenings UFC FIGHT PASS-streamed main card.
The 30-year-old Brazilian hopes it's a significant moment in his career.
"I'm not in a rush – like I've still got time," Silverio said. "I also don't have time to lose. I feel like I've put in the hard work and feel I just belong to the top already. I want to make it as quick as I can.
"I want to have more experience. I want to have more fights, but I do feel like I'm ready to climb pretty quick. I feel like I belong with the best."
This story first published at CFFC.tv.