clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Morning Report: Michael Bisping says Israel Adesanya is not in the GOAT conversation yet: ‘Anderson Silva has just done more’

Michael Bisping
Michael Bisping
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

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.”


Damn. Beneil Dariush injured, Bobby Green steps in against Islam Makhachev for UFC Vegas 49 headliner.

Problem. Israel Adesanya explains how he’s starting to fall into one same ‘issue’ Anderson Silva had during UFC title reign.

Criticism. Michael Bisping responds to criticism he faced after UFC 271, praises Joe Rogan as ‘the godfather of MMA commentary’.

Okay. Conor McGregor claims he has the best ‘ground and pound’ in the entire sport of MMA: ‘I don’t miss,’

Submission. Ciryl Gane explains why he went for a leg lock on Francis Ngannou at UFC 271.


The MMA Hour.

Rise of Jamahal Hill.

UFC Vegas 48 Fighters You Should Know.

Israel Adesanya reacts to UFC 271.

Cooking with Volk.


We Got Next. Interviews with Roberto Soldic, Ronnie Lawrence, Jay Perrin, Isaac Dulgarian, and Josh Fremd.


Damn. Good luck, Mike Swick.

Marvin Vettori standing up for his boy.

Conor reliving his past glory.

Khamzat Chimaev.

Kayla Harrison teasing something.

Renato Moicano.

Tanner Boser trying to get in on the Kevin Holland game.

Big John on leaving refereeing.


Islam Makhachev (21-1) vs. Beneil Dariush (21-4-1); UFC Vegas 49, Feb. 26.

A.J. McKee (18-0) vs. Patricio Pitbull (32-5); Bellator 277, April 15.

Vadim Nemkov (15-2) vs. Corey Anderson (16-5); Bellator 277, April 15.

Tatsuro Taira (10-0) vs. Carlos Candelario (8-1); UFC Fight Night, April 30.

Lyoto Machida (26-11) vs. Fabian Edwards (9-2); Bellator London, May 13.


Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow!



Who wins this weekend?

This poll is closed

  • 49%
    Johnny Walker
    (210 votes)
  • 50%
    Jamahal Hill
    (213 votes)
423 votes total Vote Now

If you find something you’d like to see in the Morning Report, hit up @JedKMeshew on Twitter and let him know about it. Also follow MMAFighting on Instagram and like us on Facebook.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the MMA Fighting Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your fighting news from MMA Fighting