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Dana White confirms that he offered Anderson Silva a title shot with Israel Adesanya win

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Anderson Silva
Anderson Silva, title challenger in 2019?
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

“The Spider” has a chance at getting the UFC title back in his web soon.

Middleweight legend Anderson Silva recently claimed that he agreed to an upcoming bout with Israel Adesanya in part because UFC president Dana White dangled a championship opportunity in front of him should Silva defeat Adesanya.

Speaking at a scrum (h/t MMA Weekly) following The Ultimate Fighter 28 Finale event Friday in Las Vegas, White confirmed that he was able to convince Silva to take on the dangerous Adesanya by putting a title shot on the line.

“I flew out to Los Angeles and we sat down and talked,” White said. “I told him I wanted the Israel Adesanya fight and he says, ‘I’m just coming back. How does that make sense for me?’

“I said it makes sense for you because if you win I’ll give you the title shot.

“He said, ‘Now you’re talking buddy, I like the way you’re thinking.’ And I love that, I love that Anderson Silva wants to come back and fight Israel for a title shot.”

Though Silva is widely regarded as one of the greatest fighters in MMA history due to a resume that includes a 16-fight unbeaten run from 2006-2012 and 10 consecutive UFC title defenses, the 43-year-old has good reason to be wary of taking on Adesanya. An accomplished kickboxer who is 15-0 in his MMA career so far, Adesanya has won all four of his UFC fights, most recently demolishing Derek Brunson inside of a round at UFC 230.

Should Silva beat Adesanya and earn a shot at the title — currently scheduled to be contested between champion Robert Whittaker and challenger Kelvin Gastelum in February — it would be his first championship bout since UFC 168 on Dec. 28, 2013. At that event, Silva failed to regain the title in a rematch with Chris Weidman after a checked kick resulted in Silva’s leg being broken. That loss was part of an 0-4 (1 NC) slump that Silva didn’t break out of until outpointing Brunson at UFC 208 in February of last year.

Asked if any other names were offered to Silva, White said that the fighter’s mind was made up when the championship bout was presented as a possibility.

“Once I told him it was for the title, we had a fight.”

Silva is set to fight Adesanya at UFC 234 on Feb. 10 at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, Australia.