Israel Adesanya has named Anderson Silva and Demetrius Johnson as his two greatest fighters in UFC history.
Adesanya has become one of the most high-profile names in the UFC during the modern era having made four successful defences of his middleweight title. ‘Style Bender’ has beaten some of the promotion’s top fighters including Silva, Robert Whittaker and Kelvin Gastelum.
And the Nigerian star believes former UFC flyweight champion Johnson is “slept on” by many with regards to his place in the history books. “It’s between Demetrious ‘Mighty Mouse’ Johnson and Anderson Silva,” Adesanya told Main Event when assessing his picks with Alexander Volkanovski. “Just, I feel like he’s slept on. He is so slept on in the history because, well I don’t know why.
“I think it’s just meatheads look at a guy like that and think in their head, like when they say the lighter guy fight they think, ‘oh nice I’ll just pick him up and learn that’ you know? I think it’s that mentality. Demetrious and Anderson, I’ll give my top two”.
Johnson made a huge impression in the UFC winning the flyweight strap during a tournament back in 2012 with victory over Joseph Benavidez. He then went on to successfully defend it 11 times against the likes of Henry Cejudo and John Dodson. Cejudo later avenged the victory and stole the crown from ‘DJ’, with the American then switching to ONE Championship before retiring.
Silva is also regarded as one of the greatest fighter’s in the promotion’s history having broken the record for the longest title reign of 2,457 days. He first picked up the belt with victory over Rich Franklin in 2012 before making twelve successive defences.
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This included wins over the likes of Vitor Belfort, Chael Sonnen and Demian Maia before losing his belt to Chris Weidman in 2013. He went on to fight some more leading names, including Adesanya in 2019 where he lost via unanimous decision. Adesanya has since gone on to become middleweight champion himself and will be looking to make a fifth successive defence of his belt against Jarod Cannonier this weekend.
He has become the second highest-paid fighter in the promotion currently and is looking to cement his legacy as a great. One target for Adesanya could be the breaking of Silva’s title-holding record, but the Nigerian star is focused on returning to winning in style before looking at further accolades.
“No, I don’t look at numbers. I don’t really try and chase numbers,” Adesanya said. “I literally just win. I just win, but now, I’ve already done this in the past and done this for years. But I want to get back to winning in style. Yeah, just winning in my style, and not just to win, but win emphatically. So numbers don’t bother, I don’t chase numbers, they chase me.”