Booking a 43-year-old Anderson
Silva against rising star Israel
Adesanya seemed like a cruel bit of matchmaking from the UFC,
but it seems that there was an added incentive for “The Spider” to
accept the bout.
“[UFC President Dana White] came to Los Angeles to talk to me,”
Silva said in an interview with
ESPN. “I said to him, ‘Why am I going to take this fight?’ And
Dana said, ‘You know, you win this fight, you go to the title
belt.’ I said, ‘OK, now you are talking good business for me.'”
Silva hasn’t competed since he ended a five-bout winless streak
with a contentious decision win over Derek
Brunson at UFC 208 in February 2017. He was slated to face
Gastelum at UFC Fight Night 122 but was pulled from the fight
following a failed drug test. He was ultimately given a one-year
suspension by USADA for taking a contaminated supplement; Silva
previously failed multiple drug tests in relation to a UFC 183 bout
against Nick Diaz.
Adesanya has kicked off his professional tenure with 15 consecutive
triumphs, including four in the UFC. Most recently, the flashy
striker earned a first-round technical knockout win over Brunson at
UFC 230 on Nov. 3. “The Last Stylebender” has certainly caught
“This is a great challenge for me,” Silva said. “My entire life,
since I started martial arts, I have taken the best challenge.
Israel is a young guy and the future of the sport. Everybody is
talking about Israel. I think this is the best fight in the
Silva and Adesanya will square off at UFC 234 in Melbourne,
Australia on Feb. 9. The card is headlined by a middleweight
championship clash between Robert
Whittaker and Gastelum.