Israel Adesanya is a great champion, but ‘The Last Stylebender’ has a long way to go before he surpasses Anderson Silva as the middleweight GOAT.
That’s according to UFC Hall of Famer Michael Bisping, who explained on his YouTube channel what makes Silva such a special fighter and what Adesanya has to do before he enters the GOAT conversation.
“I’m just gonna throw it out there: Anderson Silva is the greatest middleweight of all time,” Bisping said (h/t MMA Fighting). “Now that’s not a knock on Israel Adesanya…. Let’s break it down. Let’s look at it. Israel came to the UFC and he wanted to achieve great things, right from day one. He was always comparing himself to others, wanting to beat records, wanting to get to the title quicker, wanting to have the most defenses, and go down in the record books as an absolute legend. And he will do that because he is a legend. He is the man. He’s on top of the sport right now. But Anderson Silva has just done more. It’s as simple as that.
“Professional career record of 34-11, 16-fight win streak in the UFC which is the longest, 14 stoppages, 12 KOs, 2 subs, and he defended the belt 11 times… Just because Travis Lutter doesn’t make weight, I still count that as a defense….
“We’re here to talk about whether Israel’s resume is better than that and the short answer is, it’s not. It’s just not. Now that doesn’t mean it can’t be. Of course it can be. Israel is still a young man. He’s got a lot of time on his side and he’s still a phenomenal fighter, but when you compare the two records right now they just don’t stack up.”
Bisping acknowledges Adesanya has a stellar UFC record of his own but says it pales in comparison to Silva’s title reign.
“His career record is 22-1, very nice. 15 KOs overall, only 4 KOs in the UFC though, and only four title defenses,” Bisping said. “We know Izzy likes to say he has five title defenses because he won the interim belt against [Kelvin Gastelum] and then he unified the belt against Robert Whittaker. When you’re the interim champion, you’re only the number one contender. We know this. Listen, if I was Israel, maybe I’d feel the same way. I’m not trying to sh*t on him, I’m not trying to take away from his achievements, far from it, but beating Robert Whittaker to become the champ wasn’t a title defense.”
“Since then [Adesanya’s] had four title defenses, he went up and fought Jan Blachowicz at light heavyweight, didn’t get the job done,” Bisping continued. “No shame in that. No shame in that whatsoever but when you look at the two of them and you look at the average fight time — Anderson’s is way [shorter]. And Anderson Silva was more of a varied threat, he had great submissions. Only two submissions in the UFC but still, two is good. And he was so dynamic.”
Adesanya does, of course, hold a decision victory over Silva but that was when the latter was way past his prime according to Bisping.
“Listen, I know what a lot of people might say, ‘Israel and Anderson Silva, they already fought and Izzy beat him.’ Well he did beat him but Anderson was 43 years old,” he said. “They fought and Anderson was 43 years old. It was a competitive fight and Izzy beat him fair and square but still, Anderson wasn’t in his prime and you have to remember that…
“Izzy is fantastic. Izzy’s great. Izzy’s the middleweight champion of the world. But is Izzy the GOAT of the middleweight division? No, he’s not. But the reality is, he might be one day. He might be one day but he’s still got a long way to go.”
Adesanya last fought at UFC 271 where he outpointed Robert Whittaker to retain his middleweight title. He is currently #2 in the UFC men’s pound-for-pound rankings.
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