Antonio Silva has fought 17 times in his six year professional career, beating former UFC champions Ricco Rodriguez and Andrei Arlovski along the way, but there’s no doubt that his bout with Fedor Emelianenko on February 12th will eclipse them all.

“Fedor is the best so this is the top of the food chain,” Silva stated at yesterday’s conference call for Strikeforce’s heavyweight tournament. “For me, this is the final and I will give it all I have to make this happen. This is my dream and I’m going to beat the legend and I’m going to be a legend.

Assessing his legendary opponent Silva sees much to admire, though he hopes that the Russian’s loss to Fabricio Werdum last time out may have identified a chink in his armor.

“I think Fedor is a complete fighter and he’s very well-rounded. It’s tough to determine how this fight will go. I think I will do more stand up in this fight. If it goes to the ground then it does. One thing I have in my mind is that Werdum showed to the world that Fedor’s main weakness is on the ground. But he’s a complete fighter and I’m going to follow where the fight goes.”

Silva has a loss to Werdum himself in 2009 which brought to an end a six fight winning streak. Since then he’s produced a further two wins however, and he’s clearly confident that he can add to that despite the caliber of his upcoming opponent.

“Everyone has been saying that I can be the man to beat Fedor in the future. And now I know in my mind that I can beat him. I know this is the right time and that God has given me this time and that I can beat the great Fedor.”