The middleweight division is getting the return of its old king as Anderson Silva takes on Israel Adesanya at UFC 234 in Melbourne, Australia on February 10.
When just glancing at this bout, the initial reaction may be, ‘Why would Anderson Silva take this fight?’
Which is a reasonable thought as the now 43-year old legend will be fighting for the first time since February 2017 against one of the top young rising contenders in the division. On paper, it sounds like high risk vs low reward.
However, that isn’t at all the case as Silva recently spoke to ESPN and shared that UFC President Dana White told him that a title shot awaited him with a win.
“Dana came to Los Angeles to talk to me,” Silva said. “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,’
“At first, I talked to Dana about a fight with [Conor] McGregor, because McGregor challenged me. Maybe that will be my second fight after this layoff. We’ll see.”
Thanks to his lengthy kickboxing background, the unbeaten Adesanya has established himself as one of the best pure strikers in all of MMA. Which is where most of the intrigue comes from for this matchup with Silva as, most know, he is one of the most legendary strikers in combat sports history.
Despite his own status, Silva is very excited for the challenge that is next presented for him.
“This is a great challenge for me. 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 sport.
I knew when I saw Israel, wow, this boy is amazing and will have a good career in this sport. This is an amazing challenge.”
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 11/29/2018