Israel Adesanya has enlisted the help of Commonwealth Games gold medal boxer David Nyika in preparation for his upcoming bout against Anderson Silva.
The 29-year-old will meet the Brazilian legend in Melbourne next month in the co-main event at UFC 234 with the winner earning the next shot at the middleweight title.
Silva is a shifty switch-stance fighter whose combination of evasiveness and power set him apart from the competition as he rose through the UFC ranks.
Looking for someone to spar with similar characteristics, Adesanya's team brought in Nyika.
"We brought him in because he definitely gives me looks that I'll need when I'm fighting Anderson," Adesanya said. "He's a good sparring partner. I hate sparring him but he makes me better."
The unbeaten Kiwi middleweight did admit with Nyika being a boxer and not a mixed martial artist, there were some limitations when they sparred together, with Adesanya only boxing against the two-time gold medallist.
"Taking away a lot of my weapons and having me be limited with him, it's only going to help me get better with my hands.
"It's very calculated back and forth with me and him."
In Melbourne, Adesanya will meet the 43-year-old Silva whose middleweight title reign remains the longest in UFC history. Regarded by many as the greatest professional mixed martial artist of all time, Silva held the title for 2,457 days from 2006 to 2013.
When the bout was announced, Adesanya admits it took a short while to sink in that he would be fighting the UFC legend, but those thoughts quickly disappeared.
"He is one of the greats, but people still think I look at him like 'oh my God, it's Anderson', but that's long gone," Adesanya said. "I admire him, I like watching his fights and stuff, but I can switch. There's a few of us in here, so I can switch and bring out the beast when I need to."
With UFC 234 less than three weeks away, Adesanya and City Kickboxing teammates Kai Kara France and Shane Young were in the final preparations for their respective bouts on the card. Kara France meets Brazilian Raulian Paiva and Young meets American Austin Arnett.