UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva finally got something off his chest.

Back in 2009, Silva faced off with Thales Leites for his title. The bout went to a decision, which “The Spider” won, becoming the first victory of his that wasn’t stopped since 2004.

Now, three years later, Silva has admitted that he didn’t put the hammer down on Leites due to respect.

“There’s no such thing as holding back,” said Silva, in a recent interview with Tatame. “The only time I did it was because he was a friend of mine. It was against Thales Leites. We went until the last round because he’s a friend of mine and I respect him.”

Silva caught plenty of flack over his lack of aggression against both Leites and Demian Maia, including upsetting UFC president Dana White to the point of talking about cutting Silva.

Now, with impressive victories over Chael Sonnen (twice), Vitor Belfort and Yushin Okami, not many people remember Silva going the distance with Leites and Maia.