UFC legend Anderson Silva has revealed he’d be keen to test himself against Conor McGregor in a catchweight bout before he calls time on his career.
Speaking to Combate (h/t Jonathan Bradley of FOX Sports) the Brazilian outlined the three fighters he would love to go up against. And despite dominating the middleweight division for a substantial stint of his time in the promotion, Silva thinks a bout with the Notorious, the current featherweight champion, could be doable.
“That's a challenge I would like to do,” he said of facing McGregor. “I've never asked to fight anybody, but I would like to test my martial arts skills against [Conor] McGregor. … I think McGregor is a great striker, but he didn't do very well in his last fight because he played into Nate Diaz's game and that's really hard.”
Indeed, McGregor made the bold move of jumping from the 145-pound division to the 170-pound welterweight limit for his last bout at UFC 196, in which he was defeated by Nate Diaz via submission.
Silva also revealed that Diaz’s brother, Nick, as well as his most recent conqueror Michael Bisping, are on his hit list. “I would like that [McGregor] and a rematch with Nick Diaz and Michael Bisping,” he added. “These are the fighters I would like to fight. McGregor, Diaz and Bisping because that fight did not end nicely.”
The Brazilian, now 40 years old, is in the twilight of a remarkable career. He made his professional MMA debut in 1997, before making a name for himself in the UFC. Silva held the middleweight title for an incredible 2,457 days, which saw him defend the strap on 10 separate occasions.
His last four bouts haven’t been particularly memorable, though. He lost the belt to Chris Weidman in 2013 before suffering a horrific leg fracture in a rematch later in the year. Silva’s win over Diaz in early 2015 was then ruled a no-contest after he tested positive for banned substances, before last month he lost via unanimous decision to Bisping.
Per MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani, McGregor looks poised to face Diaz in a rematch at UFC 200. MMA Junkie’s Chamatkar Sandhu thinks the Irishman should take on a different challenge:
I get why the UFC would want to have Conor McGregor vs Nate Diaz headline UFC 200. I, like many, would personally prefer McGregor vs Edgar.— Chamatkar Sandhu (@SandhuMMA) March 18, 2016
McGregor did say ahead of his UFC 196 showpiece that in training he has “middleweights coming in fresh to try to wear me down,” per Severe MMA, and a fight with Silva would be a fantasy lineup for a lot of fans. But a lot needs to happen before this one comes to fruition.
We’ve only seen the Notorious at welterweight on one occasion and he didn’t look comfortable, meaning a foray into a higher weight class seems unlikely. Silva has not fought at 170 pounds since 2006 and while he still remains in tremendous shape at this late stage in his career, making a catchweight limit fair to both fighters would surely be too tough.