The Feb. 10 fight card at Melbourne, Australia, is headlined by UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker putting his belt on the line opposite Kelvin Gastelum. Silva and Adesanya will contend in service of that bout, but either could also easily function as a back-up plan if either Whittaker or Gastelum is unable to fight.
If the worst doesn’t happen and everything goes as planned, Silva could be staring in a title shot. White stated it’so Silva was promised a shot at the belt if he consented to take the fight with Adesanya and defeat him.
“I hadn’t seen (Silva) in a little while. I flew out to Los Angeles and we sat down and talked. I informed him I wanted the Israel Adesanya fight. He stated, ‘I’m just coming back. How can that make sense for me personally?’ ” White recounted.
“It is logical for you because in the event that you win, I’ll give you the title shot. Then he stated, ‘You ’re talking buddy. I like the way you’re believing.’ ”
Silva hasn’t since he defeated Derek Brunson in UFC 208 at February 18, fought. He had a fight lined with Gastelum, but had been eliminated when he got flagged for a possible UFC Anti-Doping Policy violation. During the adjudication process, Silva was discovered to not have been after he ingested a contaminated substance.
Coming back for what will be his first fight in a couple of decades, Silva is chasing his former glory. The previous couple of decades prior to this Brunson bout was rocky and littered with losses. Prior to that Silva was among the most winners in UFC history. White is expecting to see a flicker of that fire burn bright .
“I adore that Anderson Silva would like to return and fight Israel for a title shot,” he said. “After I informed him it had been for the title, we had a struggle. ”