Two days ago, a pretty surprising matchup was announced as former middleweight king Anderson Silva was announced to be making his return against the rising contender, Israel Adesanya at UFC 234 in February.
Adesanya just recently dispatched of Derek Brunson at UFC 230 who also happens to be Silva’s last opponent as well.
However, Adesanya’s victory was a whole lot clearer and more decisive as he finished him in one round whereas Silva took home a controversial decision.
A matchup that Adesanya wasn’t all too interested in at this point, he felt like it was something that just felt right as he’ll be taking on one of his fighting idols as he told The MMA Hour.
“I’m a guy that started off modeling my style after his because he’s a skinny black guy like me and I looked up to him. So, I was like ‘If you want to fight your clone, you can fight me. But I’m better than your clone because I’ve studied every single thing you’ve done and every f*cking move you made,’ I know when he’s going to chill, I know when he’s going to attack, I know when he’s offensive, I know when he wants to blitz. I’d feel it.
I know this man better than he knows himself. I know some things about him that he doesn’t even know about himself because I’m on the outside looking in. But I’m glad he took the fight and I’m glad it’s on. And it’s [UFC] 234. Perfect synchronicity, 2-3-4. Melbourne, my favorite city in Australia. So now I’m ready. This is all mine for the taking.”
With Silva now being at 43-years of age, many aren’t too fond of this matchup for Adesanya, especially when considering the other great options he has ahead of him in the talented 185-pound division.
However, just because ‘The Spider’ isn’t in the prime of his career anymore doesn’t mean that Adesanya plans to take him lightly.
“He’s still Anderson Silva,” said Adesanya. “Whether you like it or not, he just smashed…well, Bisping won the fight on paper but I had Anderson edging it out. You could have stopped the fight in the third [round] after that flying knee dropped [Bisping]. So he’s still a guy that’s dangerous, he’s still the guy that f*cking front kicked Vitor Belfort in his face, he’s still crafty and he’s a guy that among everyone else can probably play with me better than most people because we’re cut from the same cloth, the cloth of greatness. Like the way we move is different from the rest. So yeah, he’ll be a guy that understands how we move differently. So, don’t ever sleep on him. He’s ‘The Spider,’
“I know I’m going beat him and I have to beat him. But, I’m not overestimating him and I’m not underestimating him. I just have to go in and do my job. I’ve said it, just because I’m a fan doesn’t mean you can’t catch these hands. Just because I’m a fan doesn’t mean I won’t put it on him. I’m not going to be like [Georges St-Pierre] when he first faced Matt Hughes. You know GSP was looking down and he admitted he was scared and he wasn’t worthy of being in there. That’s how he felt. This is not that. This is not that story. I’m coming in there to kill him, I’m coming in to destroy him.”
It might not be a title fight or a No. 1 contender bout, but that doesn’t mean that it means any less to ‘The Last Stylebender’. In fact, it means even more.
“This means more to me than the f*cking world title. I’m getting choked up even right now even thinking about it. Like honestly, this f*cking means the world to me. UFC 90 was the first time I watched this guy fight live. Before that, I was watching him on DVDs f*cking murking dudes. This is like LeBron James getting to face Michael Jordan.”
UFC 234 takes place on February 10 in Melbourne, Australia. The main event will be a battle for the middleweight title as Aussie superstar Robert Whittaker looks to defend his crown against Kelvin Gastelum.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 11/26/2018