Anderson Silva has always been ready to swim with the sharks.

Forging an impressive legacy in his time with the UFC, the Brazilian's middleweight title reign from 2006 to 2013 remains the longest in the promotion's history.

He's taken on a number of the sport's greats, but thinks his upcoming bout against unbeaten Kiwi Israel Adesanya at UFC 234 in Melbourne next week will be something special.

"Israel is young, he's a good talent and has a great future in this sport. I'm going to do something special for my fans. This is an amazing fight, I believe this is the best fighter ever in UFC in Australia."


Silva has never fought in Australia in his 22-year career, with his only bouts in the Southern Hemisphere being on familiar soil in Brazil.

Anderson Silva will fight for the first time in Australia at UFC 234. Photo / Getty Images
Anderson Silva will fight for the first time in Australia at UFC 234. Photo / Getty Images

But with three fights remaining on his current UFC contract, the opportunity to meet Adesanya in the co-main event on the Melbourne card felt like the right one for his first bout in Australia.

"I'm very happy to be here," Silva said of Australia. "The people have a beautiful heart and amazing energy. It's very, very similar to Brazilian people. I'm lucky to be here."

UFC fans have been anticipating the bout between Silva and Adesanya since it was announced in November last year. Adesanya's unpredictable, well-rounded style has been long compared to that of Silva and many fans see it as a battle of the old versus the new.

The Brazilian, however, doesn't quite see it that way, but rather as an exciting title elimination match up where the winner will be well deserving of the next shot at the middleweight title.

"I believe in one thing, age is a number," Silva said.

"I'm training hard every day. For this fight I've trained six months.

"My focus now is this fight with Israel. Hopefully I'm going to win - of course I'm going to win - and I'll fight for the belt next. I'm training hard for that next step."


And with the Melbourne card being his first trip Down Under, Silva was hoping to undertake the more literal application of swimming with sharks.

Silva was quick to declare his love for sharks and their positive impact on the ecosystem of the ocean, and said he had been given clearance by the UFC to carry out the activity - only after his job in the octagon was done.

"I'm very excited to do that. I'm just waiting for when I finish the fight, then I can go to see the sharks.

"It's an old animal on this planet that people need to respect. Sharks are very important for the ocean."