It was announced this week that Anderson Silva will face Israel Adesanya at UFC 234 in February. However, ‘The Spider’ has revealed that he was in talks about facing Conor McGregor before his fight in Melbourne was confirmed.
The former pound-for-pound told ESPN that he was in talks with the UFC about a fight with Conor McGregor, after the Dubliner called out Silva during an interview with Ariel Helwani before his UFC 229 bout with Khabib Nurmagomedov.
He also spoke about a potential match-up with Georges St. Pierre in what has always been a dream fight for fans.
“At first, I talked to Dana about a fight with McGregor, because McGregor challenged me. Maybe that will be my second fight after this layoff. We’ll see.” Silva said.
“That’s an interesting fight, but Georges has never come to accept the challenge. Georges just runs, runs, runs, It’s crazy. I do not think Georges wants the fight – but that’s OK. I respect Georges.
“He is a great fighter. Maybe he just has a different view – to take easy fights. That’s not me. I like to take the big challenges in my life.
“Georges is very lucky and very smart. He never goes to take a fight if it’s not easy. That’s the point. Georges, for me, is a great fighter, but he never takes the real challenges in life. That’s my opinion. I respect him, but that’s my opinion.”
Silva revealed that he wasn’t sure on whether he would accept the fight, however, the promise of a shot at middleweight gold for the winner was too good an opportunity to turn down.
“This is a great challenge for me,” Silva said.
“My entire life, since I started martial arts, I have taken the best challenge. Israel is a young guy and the future of the sport. Everybody is talking about Israel. I think this is the best fight in the sport.
“Dana came to Los Angeles to talk to me. I said to him, ‘Why am I going to take this fight?’ And Dana said, ‘You know, you win this fight, you go to the title belt.’ I said, ‘OK, now you are talking good business for me.’”
Until a lucrative fight with either McGregor or St. Pierre comes to fruition, Silva must occupy himself with the threat that is posed by Israel Adesanya, the man many believe to be ‘The next Anderson Silva’.
“I knew when I saw Israel, wow, this boy is amazing and will have a good career in this sport,” Silva said.
“This is an amazing challenge.”