It’s only been two days since ESPN reported rising UFC star Israel Adesanya and one of the promotion’s longtime megastars, Anderson Silva, have verbally agreed to square up in Australia for UFC 234. With Adesanya coming off a 15-match winning streak while Silva is an unranked former champion, pundits immediately commented: “Huh?” Questions arose around why Adesanya would risk a title shot to go up against a legend who hasn’t fought in over a year.
Today Adesanya explained on The MMA Hour that the fight was all his idea, something he pitched to head honcho Dana White after dreaming of it for years.
“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,” said Adesanaya. “When my movie of my life comes out, this is going to be a f***ing pivotal moment…he’s been the greatest middleweight champion of all time. But I’ll take it from here. I’ll take the torch by force if I have to.”
Silva (34-8, with 1 no contest) holds several UFC records, including a 16-win middleweight title reign and 13 overall wins. Adesanya recognized the legend’s accomplishments in the interview and stated he will “not underestimate or overestimate” Silva.
“This [fight] means more to me than the f*cking world title,” Adesanya said. “I’m getting choked up even right now even thinking about it. UFC 90 was the first time I watched this guy fight live. Before that I was watching him on DVDs f***ing murking dudes. This is like LeBron James getting to face Michael Jordan. This means more to me than any f*cking shiny belt.”