When Israel Adesanya takes on Anderson Silva at UFC 234 in February, he will be meeting one of his longtime idols. In a way, he feels that is an advantage.
“The Last Stylebender” continues to impress during his short career so far with his latest victory over Derek Brunson confirming his status as a genuine threat to the middleweight belt. The undefeated 29-year-old knows victory over Silva will likely secure him the No. 1contender spot in the 185-pound division and a shot at the title sometime next year.
Although standing in his way is a unique challenge in the form of “The Spider,” who dominated the middleweight division for nearly six years, dispatching opponent after opponent to cement his name as best 185 pound fighter ever. While at 43 years of age, Silva’s best days are well and truly behind him, Adesanya maintains that Silva is still a major challenge.
Adesanya was interviewed recently about his match up against Silva and says he’s been doing a lot of video work on his opponent ahead of their fight next year (via MMA Mania):
“I have watched all of his fights,” Adesanya said. “I know him better than he knows himself in some ways because I am on the outside looking in. I’ve watched him on DVD’s for so long and thought to myself, ‘This guy is the man.’ When I watched UFC 90 against Patrick Cote, that is the one that made me take notice.
“He dismantled Patrick Cote,” Adesanya added. “I keep saying he blew his knee out with telekinesis. That one made me look at fighting differently. That was when I barely started fighting and had this perception that you have to be Rambo, this jacked up dude to be able to fight.
“But I see this skinny black guy whooping everyone’s ass” Adesanya concluded. “So I said, ‘I’m a skinny black guy, I can whoop ass.’ So he helped plant the idea that I can be the best in the world. The guy is just the Picasso of our time. He is a genius.”