It’s far from a novel concept these days to bring attention to oneself in combat sports by calling out pay-per-view king Conor McGregor and challenging him to a fight. 

Whether you are UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman or even Hall of Fame boxer Oscar De La Hoya, the mere mention of the brash Irishman’s name is typically enough to produce headlines. 

Not every McGregor call out is designed to actually lead toward a fight and very few deserve a formal answer from the former two-division UFC champion. Every once in a while, however — as evidenced by the blockbuster 2017 pay-per-view match between McGregor and retired pound-for-pound boxing king Floyd Mayweather — a creative idea for a circus fight seems to just make too much sense to ignore it. 

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Enter Anderson Silva, the former UFC middleweight champion and 45-year-old legend who has no intention to stop fighting despite having lost six of his last eight fights against elite competition. Both Silva and McGregor, who share a mutual respect for each other as martial artists, have thrown around the idea of a superfight in the past to mixed reactions. 

But Silva brought the idea back into the fold on Wednesday in translated comments on his Instagram page in which he suggested a McGregor fight “would be something historic for the sport.” On Thursday, McGregor responded. 

McGregor later tweeted he would be willing to accept the fight at the 185-pound middleweight limit despite Silva’s idea for a catch weight around 176 pounds. So could the fight actually happen? That depends on a few things, including the opinion of UFC president Dana White. 

The following, however, are five reasons why the fight should happen (despite what your conscious might be telling you) and why it actually makes a ton of sense:

1. Be honest: You have no idea who would win

That right there is the beauty of this exercise. Did Manny Pacquiao prove too young and fast for De La Hoya when the Filipino icon dramatically rose up in weight to accept their 2008 bout aptly titled “The Dream Match”? In the end, yes. But heading in, fans and critics alike truly had no idea whether Pacquiao was making a smart choice or a disastrous one. Because we have no idea if Silva’s height, reach and weight advantage would be too much for McGregor to make up with speed and youth, that’s what makes this fun. And as we learned from UFC’s surprising turn last year into BMF title territory, fun is a good distraction now and then when it comes to fight promotion. 

2. McGregor needs a stay-busy fight

I’m not here to proclaim that McGregor, who snapped a 15-month layoff in January by destroying Donald Cerrone in just 40 seconds to win their welterweight bout, is the rightful next in line to face the winner of Khabib Nurmagomedov’s title defense against interim champion Justin Gaethje this summer. I am here to tell you, however, that every word White has ever uttered on the topic, including comparing the Nurmagomedov-McGregor rivalry to Muhammad Ali-Joe Frazier in boxing, that UFC will do everything in its power to give that rematch — and it’s record-breaking PPV potential — a chance to happen. Having McGregor fight the next 155-pound fighter in line simply doesn’t make sense due to the heavy financial risk. With White recently saying he’s not interested at the moment in a welterweight trilogy between McGregor and Nate Diaz, a low-risk fight of this type might be exactly what all parties need. Fighting Silva would be more or less a financially smart exhibition for McGregor and is in line with both his love for Silva (whom he declared MMA’s G.O.A.T. on Twitter last week) and his penchant for accepting any challenge at anytime. 

3. Silva isn’t as washed up as you think

Yes, he’s 45 and, sure, his record of 1-6 (with one no contest) since 2013 is terrible. It also doesn’t help that his lone victory in 2017 over Derek Brunson was a disputed decision. But Silva’s resume during that time is littered with top competitors in their prime and he was competitive in almost all of them, including his 2019 loss to current middleweight champion Israel Adesanya. When you take into account the freak nature of the two Chris Weidman defeats, the fact that many feel Silva was robbed against Michael Bisping and the injury he suffered against Jared Cannonier last May (not to mention him facing Daniel Cormier on three days’ notice and hurting him late), “The Spider” could have a very different record had luck been more on his side. Fears of his typically strong chin would also be lessened because of how much smaller McGregor would be in this fight. Is Silva the same guy he was against Weidman in 2013? No chance. But it’s hard to watch how well he disarmed Adesanya just one year ago and then proclaim he’s damaged goods.  

4. It’s the perfect crossover fight to attract casual fans

It sells itself. Seriously, there is nothing negative you could say about this fight aside from Silva’s age (which is offset by his size advantage). The two names and personalities alone would make this the kind of fight to grab the attention of the mainstream sports world but the hook of seeing a younger and smaller fighter overcome such a profound disadvantage would be the key element. When you add in how beloved Silva is from the standpoint of being an ambassador of the sport (more for the way he carries himself than his drug testing records), many would watch just to root for the older man to one-up such a polarizing individual in McGregor. 

5. These are the type of fights Silva should be taking

Once it became clear about five years ago that Silva had turned the corner just a bit and was no longer considered a legitimate threat to climb the ladder and win back the UFC middleweight title, these are the kind of matchups UFC should’ve been pushing Silva into. When a legend like him reaches a certain point, going the route the marketable bouts against fellow aging stars is typically the most sound route for all parties. Yet Silva has spent his time in high-risk, low-reward fights against guys like Brunson and Cannonier that a fighter of his stature and aura should’ve been above. Like Silva’s creative 2015 fight with brash welterweight Nick Diaz, this is the type of matchmaking that brings outside interest to the fight while providing the old warhorse with a built-in advantage to remain competitive. 





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