Israel Adesanya is a rising star in the UFC. The 29-year-old went 4-0 in 2018 and will surely be the breakthrough fighter of the year. He went from virtual unknown to UFC fans to being a legitimate title contender. His last two fights he defeated Brad Tavares by decision and then defeated Derek Brunson by TKO in the first round. Ultimately, a title shot is in reach, and his next fight is against an MMA legend.
At UFC 234, a card headlined by Robert Whittaker and Kelvin Gastelum, Adesanya will be taking on former middleweight champion and in the discussion for the greatest fighter ever, Anderson Silva. However, many believe this is a bad fight for Adesanya because Silva is too old. Well, that is not the case for ‘The Last Stylebender.’
“People who aren’t in my shoes (don’t understand),” Adesanya said to Submission Radio. “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.”
Ultimately, the New Zealander wanted this fight because he has been compared to Silva. However, at first, according to Adesanya it appeared the fight wouldn’t take place. Ultimately, Adesanya is glad it did because now he can really test his skills against a true MMA legend. As well, he is fighting on the same card as the middleweight championship so the timing is perfect that if he wins he will be getting the next title shot.
“Initially I was disappointed (because he turned the fight down). 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,” Adesanya said. “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.”
At UFC 234, Adesanya can prove all the doubters wrong about him. While he hopes Silva will fight like he used to because he is tired of hearing that he is fighting an old man who doesn’t have it anymore. Ultimately, this is still a challenge for Adesanya, and if he wins, he is the next star in the UFC.