TORRANCE, Calif. -- Was Anderson Silva a one-time performance-enhancing drug user, an aging legend who fought clean through his career but sought a desperate shortcut after a devastating late-career injury? Or was his drug-test failure at age 39 indicative of long-term use?
Silva's Feb. 27 opponent, Michael Bisping, is pretty sure it was the latter.
"He [was] 39 years old, being Anderson Silva, the mighty Anderson Silva, who has destroyed everyone," Silva said at Thursday's UFC Fight Night 84 open workouts at the UFC Gym. "Don't tell me at 39 someone is going to start there, having his career and a legacy and all that, that he's going to put that all at risk."
Had Silva, who held the UFC middleweight title a record seven years, seven months, been clean all along, Bisping said, "he would have the confidence and peace of mind to say no, I am Anderson Silva, I achieved all these things and I don't need to cheat. And he didn't do that, and that's because he was cheating his whole career."
Bisping isn't about to deny Silva created spectacular and memorable moments in the Octagon over the course of his reign. But as someone who always tested clean during the sport's Wild West, pre-USADA era, Bisping feels any fighter who has tested positive for PEDs, as Silva did following what was initially a unanimous decision win over Nick Diaz at UFC 183, needs to have their career looked at in question.
"Listen, Anderson is a great fighter, achieved many, many things, but the fact of the matter is, he tested positive for performance enhancing drugs in his last fight," Bisping said. Probably the first time he had been tested, that's what he said -- his words not mine -- assuming to lead one to believe he was cheating his whole career. Shame on him, how he calls himself a martial artist and used performance enhancing drugs.
"Look at him in PRIDE," Bisping added. "He weighed in at 168 pounds. He know walks around 40 pounds heavier. Do the math."
Still, Bisping's excited for the opportunity he never quite got during Silva's reign, even if there's no title on the line. Several times, he seemed on the doorstep of a title shot at Silva, but he never got over the hump.
Going home to Great Britain for a fight in London doesn't hurt, either.
"At the end of the day, it was a bucket-list fight," Bisping said. "it was one I wanted a long time Of course its bittersweet, he's no longer the champion. It's nice to have on my resume that I fought Anderson Silva and the UK would see that. Fantastic opportunity."