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Anderson Silva ‘very surprised’ by ‘Jacare’ Souza’s recent title shot criticisms

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LOS ANGELES — Anderson Silva doesn’t seem to appreciate recent comments made about him by former training partner Ronaldo Souza.

“Jacare” said in a live chat with the Brazilian website PVT last week that he didn’t believe Silva would deserve a UFC middleweight title shot if he beats Israel Adesanya at UFC 234 in February. UFC president Dana White told Silva that a victory would earn him that No. 1 contender spot.

Silva said Monday at a press conference at his new Spider Kick gym that he was “surprised” to hear Souza’s comments, especially because of the history between the two men dating back to their time in Brazil as teammates.

“‘Jacare,’ when he come to train to my team in Brazil, I just opened the door of my gym and I helped a lot and supported a lot,” Silva said. “I’m very surprised that ‘Jacare’ was talking about that situation, especially because he respects me. I tried to help ‘Jacare’ many times. I fight with Dana and Ed Soares one time when ‘Jacare’ came close to fighting for the belt.”

Souza, who just beat Chris Weidman at UFC 230 in November, said Silva, the legendary former champ, is coming off a suspension for a positive drug test and would only be getting an opportunity for the belt because of his name. Robert Whittaker defends the title against Kelvin Gastelum in the main event of the UFC 234 card that Silva vs. Adesanya will take place at in Melbourne, Australia.

”In my (jiu-jitsu) days, I competed in the state tournament to earn a spot in the World Championship. If I didn’t win the state champion, I didn’t fight the Worlds,” Souza said. “(If I won), no one would jump the line. Now, because the guy has a name and everything… The reality is, Anderson is coming off doping, man. Anderson is out of the ranking.”

Silva, 43, has not fought since beating Derek Brunson by unanimous decision at UFC 208 in February 2017. “The Spider” failed a drug test, the second one of his career, late last year. In July, USADA, the UFC’s anti-doping partner, announced that Silva would be suspended for one year, retroactive to November 2017. The agency found that Silva, who was facing a four-year ban as a second-time offender, had failed the drug test due to the ingesting of a tainted supplement.

Silva (34-8, 1 NC) has just that one win over Brunson dating back to 2012. Souza (26-6, 1 NC) also has a win over Brunson and is coming off the victory over Weidman, who likely would have earned a title shot had he won last month.

Silva said previously that one of the reasons why he accepted the fight with Adesanya was because White promised a win would earn him a title shot. Silva’s message to his old friend is that this was not his choice — it was the UFC’s.

“I don’t know [why] Jacare is doing this, but it’s not my fault,” Silva said. “I try to do my best in my job. And that’s the point Dana offered to me, to fight for the belt again. It’s not my fault. I need to say ‘Jaca,’ it’s not me. It’s Dana White.”