Israel Adesanya has firmly passed former undisputed middleweight champion, Anderson Silva as the greatest middleweight fighter of all time according to UFC play-by-play lead, Jon Anik – who claims the strength of schedule and second round KO win over Alex Pereira solidify his claims.
Taking main event honors at UFC 287 over the course of last weekend, Adesanya managed to reclaim the undisputed middleweight title with a stunning second round knockout win over defending champion, Pereira.
Forced to return to the middleweight limit for the first time in his professional mixed martial arts career, the Nigerian-Kiwi had dropped his crown to Pereira back in November of last year at UFC 281, suffering a fifth round TKO loss at the Octagon fence.
Rallying and surviving a striking onslaught from Pereira at UFC 287 over the weekend, Israel Adesanya countered at the fence, stopping the Brazilian with a massive right hook counter, sending him to the Octagon canvas.
Heralded for his victory – namely by UFC welterweight Matt Brown following his knockout win, Adesanya, who has been touted as one of the top-5 greatest of all time, has now eclipsed the above-mentioned, Silva as the best middleweight to ever grace the sport.
“In my humble opinion, [the UFC 287 win] cements Israel Adesanya as the greatest [middleweight] of all time,” Jon Anik said on ESPN First Take. “There are people who can still argue Anderson Silva is the greatest middleweight champion of all time, and in terms of the title defenses, that is okay.”
“But, I sit here in 2023, and not just argue for Adesanya’s case as one of the best pound-for-pound guys right now,” Anik explained. “I think he’s the greatest middleweight champion of all time on his strength of schedule, and based on this win.”
Israel Adesanya landed a win over Anderson Silva back in 2019
Sharing the Octagon with former middleweight champion, Silva back in February 2019 in the main event of UFC 234, City Kickboxing staple, Adesanya managed to land a unanimous decision triumph against the former pound-for-pound number one.