This past weekend, Israel Adesanya successfully defended his middleweight title, winning a unanimous decision over Robert Whittaker at UFC 271. The win was Adesanya’s fourth title defense, moving him into sole possession of second-most middleweight title defenses behind only Anderson Silva. But second best isn’t good enough for some and given how dominant Adesanya has looked over the rest of the 185-pound division, the rumblings have already begun over whether Adesanya has surpassed Silva as the greatest middleweight to ever step into the cage. And for MMA legend, that claim is flat out wrong.
Michael Bisping is a UFC Hall of Famer and former champion, who spent his career fighting alongside Silva in the UFC’s middleweight division, and Bisping says there isn’t a realistic debate about who is the GOAT, at least not yet.
“I’m just gonna throw it out there: Anderson Silva is the greatest middleweight of all time,” Bisping said on his YouTube channel. “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.
“His career record is 22-1, very nice. 15 KOs overall, only 4 KOs in the UFC though, and only four title defenses. 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.”
The numbers alone make a compelling case for Bisping but it’s not simply the number of defenses that Silva amassed, it’s the manner in which he amassed them. Though he was primarily a striker, Silva also has two submissions on his record, and was a better finisher than Adesanya.
“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.”
The primary argument against Silva’s claim to the title, espoused by Chael Sonnen, has been that Adesanya and Silva fought, with Adesanya getting his hand raised and thus, proving his superiority. It’s a tenuous argument at best but one that Bisping felt compelled to shoot down before one again affirming that Silva still has the title of middleweight GOAT, at least for now.
“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,” Bisping 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.”
Problem. Israel Adesanya explains how he’s starting to fall into one same ‘issue’ Anderson Silva had during UFC title reign.
The MMA Hour.
Rise of Jamahal Hill.
UFC Vegas 48 Fighters You Should Know.
Israel Adesanya reacts to UFC 271.
Cooking with Volk.
SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE
Damn. Good luck, Mike Swick.
Marvin Vettori standing up for his boy.
For everybody talking shit, bennys leg has a serious injury, there wasn’t anything he wanted more than this fight.— Marvin Vettori (@MarvinVettori) February 17, 2022
20 ufc fights, fought pretty much everyone, one of the most active in the roster. Wash your mouth whenever you talk about him. https://t.co/fe7Z1AppoR
Conor reliving his past glory.
Nate diaz titty shake on the drop! pic.twitter.com/otNMJkbepo— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) February 17, 2022
@dc_mma for you and your team, it may be a problem, but not for me. If you think he might be a problem for me let him try to stop me. Do you know why I am better than you?— Khamzat Chimaev (@KChimaev) February 16, 2022
because I'm not you, I'm different
Kayla Harrison teasing something.
My life is so exciting.— Kayla Harrison (@KaylaH) February 16, 2022
This guy sent this to me at like 1:00am and then blocked me. If you find that courage again, sure. Sounds like you’re from Alberta. You can drive to Edmonton. You will sign a waiver. We will “spar”. Holland is a nice guy, I’m not. It will not be recorded. Someone pls let him know pic.twitter.com/RZzkPnjolU— Tanner Boser (@BulldozerBoser) February 17, 2022
Big John on leaving refereeing.
Of course, I always will and I knew that when I decided to leave. All good things will eventually end and you must accept that and be comfortable with it. I made the right choice for me. I was the one in control of the decision instead of others, and that’s the way I wanted it https://t.co/XwQcDm2ZwQ— Big John McCarthy (@JohnMcCarthyMMA) February 17, 2022
Islam Makhachev (21-1) vs. Beneil Dariush (21-4-1); UFC Vegas 49, Feb. 26.
Tatsuro Taira (10-0) vs. Carlos Candelario (8-1); UFC Fight Night, April 30.
Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow!
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