Israel Adesanya responds to Anderson Silva critics: ‘He’s not Chuck Liddell’

Israel Adesanya

It was recently announced that UFC 234 will feature a middleweight showdown between streaking contender Israel Adesanya and former middleweight champ Anderson Silva. While some fans are thrilled about this clash of legendary strikers, others feel it’s irresponsible matchmaking; a chance to feed the aging legend Anderson Silva to a hyped-up young fighter.

Israel Adesanya has heard these criticisms. While he agrees that Anderson Silva is perhaps not the fighter he once was, he assures he’s not Chuck Liddell, who was knocked out by Tito Ortiz last weekend.

“People who aren’t in my shoes (don’t understand),” Adesanya told Submission Radio (transcript via MMA Fighting). “Look, he’s not Chuck Liddell. Don’t get me wrong, because of that being so recent people were like, ‘oh, how dare you, he’s 43’. Look, last time he was finished was when he broke his leg. He hasn’t been losing badly. He beat Derek Brunson. That was a close fight, I guess, but yeah, I think he’s just been bored.”

Israel Adesanya also commented on Anderson Silva’s initial reluctance to accept the fight:

“Initially I was disappointed (because he turned the fight down),” Adesanya said. “I was like, man, this is a guy who liked the big challenges, the great show. As he used to say, ‘I want great show,’ you know. And then he said no to me. I said, man, maybe he doesn’t have it anymore. And then he came back last Sunday, yup, I wanna do it. I’m like, they must have made him an offer he can’t refuse, and instantly I knew it was like, title shot. I was like, alright then. But I like to think it’s me.

“I feel like I’m the guy. Cause, you know, he said one time to Joe Rogan, ‘I want to fight my clone,’ and I’m better than his clone. I’ve studied everything he’s done, every single thing. I know some of him better than he knows himself, whether he likes to believe it or not, cause I’m on the outside looking in. And yeah, I just want to believe, I want to be the guy that brings the best out of him. You’re gonna see a different Anderson, Anderson of old, if you will. Anderson that teeped Vitor Belfort in the face and had me run to my room all, ‘ahhhhh, what the f*ck’. Yeah, I want to bring that guy back. So yeah, he back.”

What do you think of the Anderson Silva vs. Israel Adesanya matchup scheduled for UFC 234? Who you got?

This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 11/29/2018.