From one middleweight great to another, it’s safe to say Anderson Silva has passed the torch on to Israel Adesanya.

Silva, who ruled the UFC’s middleweight division for almost seven years, sees Adesanya having similar success. “The Last Stylebender” has notched three title defenses so far and already has beaten the likes of former champion Robert Whittaker, Yoel Romero, Paulo Costa, and Silva himself in one of Silva’s final octagon bouts.

Adesanya (21-1 MMA, 10-1 UFC) still has a long way to reach Silva’s record-holding 10 title defenses at middleweight, but with Adesanya already beating four of the division’s top-five ranked fighters, “The Spider” doesn’t think anyone dethrones him.

“Let me tell you something very important: Israel is the big champion,” Silva told Submission Radio. “Israel has a lot of experience in kickboxing, and I don’t see anybody that can win and challenge Israel in (his) weight class. Probably in different weight class, but in 185, I don’t think so.”

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Adesanya’s lone career loss came at the hands of UFC light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz after Adesanya failed in his attempt to become a two-division champion. Since then, he dominated Marvin Vettori at UFC 263 and is projected to run things back with former champion Whittaker next.

Though Whittaker has rebounded emphatically since losing his title to Adesanya, with wins over Darren Till, Jared Cannonier and Kelvin Gastelum, Silva thinks Adesanya beats him again.

“It’s a different game, but I think Israel is on top of the game right now,” Silva said. “It’s hard to talk about, because Israel proved to anybody why he is the champion in this weight class. It’s very hard to stay in this weight class, fighting at a good level. I know because I’m there for 10 years. But it’s tough; it’s very tough.”


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