UFC 271: Israel Adesanya has ‘work to do’ to catch up to Anderson Silva, claims Daniel Cormier

  • Tom Ward
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Israel Adesanya has some ‘work to do’ before he can replace Anderson Silva as the greatest middleweight of all time.

That’s according to UFC Hall of Famer and two-division former champion of the world Daniel Cormier.

The New Zealander, 32, is currently gearing up for a highly-anticipated rematch with Robert Whittaker, whom he’ll meet on February 12 in the main event of UFC 271 at Houston’s Toyota Center this weekend.

Victory over Whittaker – who is hoping to exorcise his demons as he seeks to reclaim the middleweight strap – will see Adesanya make the fourth defence of his title.

But Cormier believes the Nigerian-born Kiwi can’t be classed in the same league as the legendary Brazilian.

During an ESPN fan Q&A, the 42-year-old said: “No, dude, Anderson Silva existed.

“Anderson Silva existed, like, I don’t get this recency bias that fans have.

“Guys, you can’t just – honestly, I think the word GOAT gets thrown around way too easy in fight sports.”

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – FEBRUARY 10: Israel Adesanya of Nigeria punches Anderson Silva of Brazil during their Middleweight bout during UFC234 at Rod Laver Arena on February 10, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

‘DC’ claims Silva – who is considered one of the best to ever do it in the sport – is without doubt ‘to MMA what Muhammad Ali was to boxing‘.

He continued: “You’ve got to really – the only person that doesn’t get passed is Muhammad Ali.

“There have been really impressive fighters, but people recognize what Muhammad Ali was.

“Anderson Silva was to MMA what Muhammad Ali was to boxing. No, Izzy has some work to do to catch Anderson.”

Cormier went on to describe the emotions he felt when he defeated Silva back in 2016 via a points victory.

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The American used his wrestling game to effectively neutralise the threat of the Spider after dominating almost the entire fight on the ground.

But he admits he was a little bit starstruck before his fight against Silva after they came face-to-face for the first time at the ceremonial weigh-ins in Las Vegas.

He recalled: “I looked across the octagon and I knew that I was fighting Anderson at UFC 200.

“We did the staredowns for the weigh-ins and I was like, ‘Wow, I’m fighting Anderson Silva.’

“Then when we got in the octagon I was like ‘Holy s***, that’s Anderson Silva.’

“It was like, the levels just kept going up in terms of appreciation for who he was to the sport of MMA.

“Anderson Silva is the MMA, mixed martial arts GOAT at 185. It’ll be a long time before someone passes him.”

READ MORE: Israel Adesanya warns Robert Whittaker ‘he isn’t the only one evolving’

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