A Shaken Israel Adesanya Vows to Send Anderson Silva Off With Respect

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Israel Adesanya says
Image Credit: Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

We are roughly 24 hours away from UFC 234, including the much-anticipated co-main event between the past and visions of the future, when Anderson Silva takes on Israel Adesanya in what Dana White has labeled a #1-contender bout. Hours ago at the official UFC 234 weigh-ins, Anderson Silva became visibly emotional to the point of tears and expressed gratitude for the fans and the UFC for giving him one more opportunity. When Israel Adesanya was interviewed on stage after watching his hero in tears, he, too, was emotional. And in an interview with ESPN shortly after the weigh-ins, a shaken Israel Adesanya credited Silva for what Adesanya implied to be a masterful strategic tactic by his hero:

“That was his trump card, his last trump card,” Adesanya said. “Like I said, he’s a troll. And I don’t believe anything he says about this being his last fight. Maybe it is, maybe it’s not. That was a trump card he kind of pulled. But you learn how to like, all right, cool, dust it off. I’m in my feelings. It’s OK. I’m vulnerable enough to express that I’m in my feelings because of how he was. But you know, cool, whatevs. It doesn’t change anything. It does not change anything, make no mistake about it. And like I said, this guy, I’m impressed. I’m really impressed.”

Israel Adesanya was then asked about this potentially being Anderson Silva’s last fight. At first, The Last Style Bender expressed doubt, but then he changed his tone and promised to give his hero a proper sendoff:

“He’s a troll. I know Anderson. How many fighters say, ‘This is my last fight, and then they go fight somewhere else or they come back. And this is Anderson. He can do whatever the [EXPLETIVE] he wants. So I don’t believe that.”

“I’m gonna have to send him off. But I’ll send him off in the best way possible. That’s the best way I can show him respect. People are like, ‘Oh, are you gonna go easy on him? Like, fans come up to me and say that: ‘Oh, please, go easy on him. I’m like, [EXPLETIVE] you. What the [EXPLETIVE]  you mean? No. I have to show him respect and give him all of me. All of me. And let him know that the division, the UFC is safe, and the new avatar is here to stay.”

Do you believe this will be Anderson Silva’s last fight in the UFC?