Silva has long been part of not just the 185-pound discussion, but the discourse surrounding the overall greatest of all time. How did he get there? Well, a period of dominance unparalleled across UFC history. Between 2006 and 2013, “The Spider” ran roughshod over the division, reigning for a record 2,457 days and notching a middleweight record 10 successful defenses.
But while he’s been alone in the middleweight debate for over a decade, one imposing champion is threatening to unseat him from the historic 185-pound throne.
Adesanya, whose unblemished middleweight record includes a victory over Silva, currently occupies top spot in the division and has done since a 2019 unification victory over Robert Whittaker. In six fights since, “The Last Stylebender” has had his hand raised five times, with his sole loss coming in a failed light heavyweight venture.
While his résumé is certainly not quite on the scale of Silva’s yet, some have suggested that the level of competition Adesanya has faced with the gold in his possession puts him somewhere close to the Brazilian.
But Brunson, who has shared the Octagon with both men, isn’t ready to have the Nigerian-New Zealander on top just yet.
During an interview with The Schmo, Brunson, the current #4-ranked contender, praised Adesanya’s title reign and admitted that he is certainly in the discussion for middleweight GOAT status. However, the veteran believes Silva still holds that crown.
“If we’re gonna go martial artist, I’d probably have to go Anderson” Brunson said. “If you’re gonna go who’s doing well — like, Izzy, you can’t take nothing from him. The guy came from kickboxing, he learned the craft, he come in and dominated, he’s fighting wrestlers, he’s fighting kickboxers.
“He’s been doing what he said he’s gonna do, what a champion should do. He’s in the discussion, for sure. He has more to do, but yeah, he’s been doing well up to this point,” Brunson added.
Brunson Names Silva As A Harder Opponent Than Adesanya
In addition, despite going the full three rounds with him and being the victim of the ageing legend’s final victory in the UFC, Brunson named Silva as a tougher opponent to face than Adesanya. That’s despite “The Last Stylebender” finishing him inside one round back in 2018.
“Might be Anderson Silva. And I say Anderson Silva because he’s good everywhere,” Brunson said. “Like, I had him in a body lock. I’m taking him down and he’s posting out — and this is older Anderson Silva — he’s posting out and giving me mad problems taking him down. I took him down, he has a good guard. On the feet he’s real tricky.
“You have to stay in tune at every point in the fight… the guy’s just so innovative and he’s good everywhere. So, I’d say the hardest to fight would be Anderson, ’cause you gotta watch out for him everywhere,” Brunson concluded.
Do you agree with Derek Brunson? Does Israel Adesanya have more to do to surpass the middleweight legacy of Anderson Silva?