Most fans and observers would likely argue Israel Adesanya did not face Anderson Silva at the height of his powers. But, “The Last Stylebender” is reporting his confidence is at an all-time high now, after defeating the legend.
Adesanya battled his idol at UFC 234 in February, and scored a unanimous decision win over the former middleweight champ. As a result of that victory, Adesanya was booked to fight Kelvin Gastelum this Saturday at UFC 226 for the interim, 185 title.
Well, while speaking to the media in advance of the bout, Adesanya had this to say about his confidence and abilities (quote via MMA Junkie):
“To the younger me, (Silva) was the pinnacle of the sport,” Adesanya said. “So when I beat him, that was like, (expletive), I’m the best in the world. I already knew it, but I had to prove it to myself. So now, everything else is easy.”
“It’s all about me and how I move in this fight,” Adesanya added. “It’s not really about him. He can do what he wants to do, but I’m going to make him do what I want to do.”
So, not everyone is going to agree with the connection Adesanya’s making here, between defeating Silva and being the best in the world. Most folks would almost certainly agree the 43-year-old Silva is not the force he once was. Further, many have argued that a top-tier, wrestling-centric fighter is going to present Adesanya his biggest challenges, rather than a striker like Silva.
But, Adesanya was faced with the task of defeating his idol, one of the greatest fighters the game has ever known, and he was able to do that. So, from his perspective, you can understand why he’s feeling pretty confident these days.
UFC 236 will take place in Atlanta, Georgia. Here is the card’s line-up.
Main Card (10 PM ET, PPV)
Max Holloway vs. Dustin Poirier
Kelvin Gastelum vs. Israel Adesanya
Eryk Anders vs. Khalil Rountree
Alan Jouban vs. Dwight Grant
Ovince Saint Preux vs. Nikita Krylov
Preliminary Card (8 PM ET, ESPN)
Jalin Turner vs. Matt Frevola
Wilson Reis vs. Alexandre Pantoja
Zelim Imadaev vs. Max Griffin
Boston Salmon vs. Khalid Taha
Preliminary Card (6:15 PM ET, Fight Pass)
Curtis Millender vs. Belal Muhammad
Montel Jackson vs. Andre Soukhamthath
Poliana Botelho vs. Lauren Mueller
Brandon Davis vs. Randy Costa