Throughout the course of his UFC run leading up to UFC 234, Israel Adesanya had been receiving a lot of praise – as well as a lot of comparisons to Anderson Silva.
His fight style, combined with his fascinating personality, quickly helped turn him into one of the biggest stars in all of mixed martial arts.
In early 2019 it was clear for all to see that ‘The Last Stylebender’ was on a roll and as a reward for his efforts, the UFC put him up against his idol Anderson Silva.
On that February 10 night in Melbourne, Anderson put in one of his best performances in years in what proved to be an incredibly fun battle between him and Adesanya.
The youngster was able to get the decision nod over the veteran but there were a few moments in which ‘The Spider’ had some real success.
According to Adesanya during an interview with BT Sport, he was actually in more trouble than most of us realised.
“He got me there, off-beat jab. Boom, ooh. I saw three Silvas there. Then he knew I was hurt. He knew I was hurt, and then he was trying to finish the fight and I was like okay, just maintain your distance, do not get finished by The Spider. So, I just made sure to get my wits about me.”
“F***ing beautiful, I had fun in this fight, man. I really had fun in this fight, and he just showed off.”
“Eject. Yeah, I made sure. I was like ah, I’ve seen this move before, you’ll never get me Spider-Man!”
The king of the division
In the present day, more than three years later, Israel Adesanya is still the man to beat at middleweight and has been sitting on the throne since defeating Robert Whittaker in late 2019.
Next weekend at UFC 276, he’ll be forced to defend his turf once more with the latest challenger being none other than Jared Cannonier.
If he wins, perhaps Israel will move a step closer to being talked about in the same category as Silva when the GOAT discussion begins.