“It was very important,” Silva said of his statement TKO victory over Buys in March. “Now I have a new chapter of my life, I can restart again. Coming from no car to a bonus, a new contract and everything, I’ve been really happy.”

Going 1-2 with a no contest was not the way Silva envisioned the start to his UFC career, but the things he’s already overcome in life, combined with his positive mindset, has made navigating self-doubt a little bit easier.

“You have to be prepared mentally, always. I’ve always thought, ‘I’m there, man.’ When you lose, you start to question yourself, like ‘I don’t know if I’m that good, I don’t know if I can beat these guys,’ but if you keep your mind straight, be positive, believe in yourself, you can do whatever you want. You can be successful and win your fights.”

View Silva’s Athlete Profile

The next test that lies ahead is Victor Rodriguez, who will make the walk to the Octagon for just the second time. A knockout artist coming off a knockout loss of his own to Adrian Yanez, Silva knows he needs to be careful of the power of Rodriguez.

“He’s a good fighter. He throws hard, comes swinging. But I feel that I’m one level up from him,” the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt said. “I want to strike with him and knock him out, and get another bonus. That’s the plan, but I can do everything. If I feel it in the moment, I can take him down, work my wrestling and jiu-jitsu. I will feel the fight.”

With nearly double the amount of professional fights as Rodriguez and more time spent in the UFC, Silva believes his experience gives him a slight upper hand in this matchup.