The next contender for the UFC middleweight title will be decided on Saturday night when Anderson Silva faces off with striking sensation Israel Adesanya in the co-main event at UFC 234.
In the weeks leading up to the event taking place in Melbourne, Australia, UFC president Dana White had previously confirmed that Silva was guaranteed a shot at the title if he could get through Adesanya this weekend.
There had never been a clear cut declaration that Adesanya would receive the same opportunity should he get past the longest reigning middleweight champion in UFC history.
Well now it’s confirmed that the winner of Adesanya vs. Silva is the next No. 1 contender for the middleweight championship.
“This is for the No. 1 contender position,” White said on Thursday during the UFC 234 pre-fight press conference. “This is it. This is for the No. 1 contender.”
While it always seemed like Adesanya would get a title shot with a win, nothing had been stated as fact until now.
For his part, Adesanya barely cracked a smile when news of his title fight opportunity was mentioned because he’s laser focused on the battle ahead against Silva on Saturday night.
Still, the former kickboxer turned mixed martial artist was confident about his chances to beat Silva and then take the title from whoever is left standing in the UFC 234 main event between current champion Robert Whittaker and top ranked contender Kelvin Gastelum.
“The cat’s out the bag. I’m about to be champion in 2019,” Adesanya added.
Whittaker, who was seated to Adesanya’s left on the same side of the stage, just nodded with a grin on his face as yet another contender proclaimed intentions to take his title.