UFC Legend on Conor McGregor: ‘Conor Is the Best’

Conor McGregor

Getty Conor McGregor arrives for a press conference at Radio City Music Hall in New York September 20, 2018 to announce his mixed martial arts match against UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.

Former UFC middleweight champion Anderson “The Spider” Silva praised Irish fighting superstar Conor McGregor as “the best.”

According to the Spider, he and “Notorious” had agreed to fight after his fight with Israel Adesanya in 2019, however the fight never came to be. Silva spoke with Combate and said that although the parties agreed, “something happened” and the fight wasn’t scheduled.

The Spider said (as transcribed by Sherdog): “UFC owes me a superfight by contract. Conor [McGregor] called me out right after my fight with [Israel] Adesanya. Our team talked to his team and we agreed upon a bout at [170 pounds], but something happened and UFC decided to not make it.”

On Wednesday, the 45-year-old Brazilian spoke with ESPN’s Brett Okamoto about the Irishman.

During their interview, Okamoto asked Silva what he thought would have happened in the potential match with McGregor. He said, “Wow. That’s very interesting, you know? It’s two strikers, and I think for me, it’s a good challenge [for] myself. And challenge every single martial arts technique I’ve trained my entire life. You know, because Conor is [very] athletic, is [very technical] and he’s a good striker.”

Silva said, “And in my mind, it’s just you know, everybody fight with Conor and don’t realize that Conor is the best one in this sport. And [fighters] try to doing something better than Conor, but this [doesn’t] happen because Conor is so smart, you know? Conor have the different time for everybody inside the cage.”

The Spider continued, “Especially when you fight for strikers, you know? Of course, when you see the fight, Conor with Khabib [Nurmagomedov], it’s completely different. Khabib is the beast, you know? But when you’re talking about strikers, this is a good fight for fans.”

The fight will likely never happen, however. Silva will compete on October 31 against No. 9 ranked Uriah Hall in what UFC president Dana White said may be his last fight ever.

Silva Also Challenged McGregor Earlier This Year & Notorious Publicly Accepted

In May, Silva took to social media to challenge McGregor to a 176.37-pound megafight. He wrote:

I have immense admiration for the great athlete that Conor is and I believe that a super fight would go down in the history of the sport, neither of us need to prove anything to anyone; I believe that fans of the UFC and of this sport would like to watch this great martial arts spectacle, it would be fantastic to test my martial arts skills against him!!

McGregor replied to The Spider’s callout, simply tweeting, “I accept.”

That was the last fans heard of the match, however, as it never materialized and Notorious announced his retirement the next month.

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Notorious Did Not Believe the Silva Fight Was ‘Rewardable’

After Notorious said he was retiring from MMA, he spoke with ESPN’s Ariel Helwani about the potential clash with The Spider. McGregor said he was initially ecstatic for the fight but later felt like it wasn’t “a rewardable fight.” McGregor said:

When the Anderson one came along, I was like, yeah, s***, that’s a mad fight. And then everyone said he’s old and over the hill. I was, like, ‘What? Fighting a former light heavyweight and the middleweight GOAT, and the actual GOAT in my eyes, that’s not a rewardable fight?’ And you know, you’re actually right. It wouldn’t be rewarded. I would go in there and put him away, Ariel, and then what would happen? They’d say he’s old and he’s over the hill and he’s past his prime and all.

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