When Anderson Silva makes his long awaited return to the Ultimate Fighting Championship Octagon against the surging Israel Adesanya in February, there will reportedly be a middleweight title shot on the line for him, and not everyone is happy about that.
Silva’s former Black House teammate Ronaldo Souza made headlines last week when he told Brazilian website Portal do Vale Tudo that even if Silva defeats Adesanya, he didn’t think his fellow Brazilian deserved a title shot, especially in light of his most recent doping violation. During a press conference on Monday at this new Spider Kick Gym in Los Angeles, “The Spider” claimed that he was surprised to hear Souza’s comments given their history as team mates back in Brazil (transcribed by MMA Fighting):
“‘Jacare,’ when he come to train to my team in Brazil, I just opened the door of my gym and I helped a lot and supported a lot,” Silva said. “I’m very surprised that ‘Jacare’ was talking about that situation, especially because he respects me. I tried to help ‘Jacare’ many times. I fight with Dana and Ed Soares one time when ‘Jacare’ came close to fighting for the belt.”
Silva, 43, has not competed in the Octagon since his unanimous decision victory over Derek Brunson at UFC 208 in February 2017. In July, the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) announced that due to a positive drug test, the Brazilian would be suspended for one year, retroactive to November 2017.
Silva has said one of the reasons he chose to accept the fight against “The Last Stylebender” was because UFC President Dana White personally made the offer that a win would get him shot at the title.
“I don’t know [why] ‘Jacare’ is doing this, but it’s not my fault,” Silva said. “I try to do my best in my job. And that’s the point Dana offered to me, to fight for the belt again. It’s not my fault. I need to say ‘Jaca,’ it’s not me. It’s Dana White.” UFC 234 takes place Feb. 10, 2019 at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, Australia. It is scheduled to be headlined by a middleweight title fight, as New Zealand-born Australian champ Robert Whittaker defends his belt against Kelvin Gastelum.