UFC legend Anderson Silva broke down in tears as he prepares to make his long-awaited return at UFC 234 in Australia.
Silva (34-8-0, 1 NC), one of the greatest pound-for-pound fighters in UFC history who held the middleweight title for seven years between 2006 and 2013, has not stepped foot in the octagon since his win over Derek Brunson at UFC 208 in 2017.
The 43-year-old Brazilian great will face Nigerian-New Zealander Israel Adesanya (15-0) in his comeback fight in Melbourne on Sunday and after making weight, Silva was overcome with emotion.
“Thank you guys. I worked my entire life for this sport,” Silva said on Saturday.
“I have tried to do my best and I need to say thank you to God for giving me one more shot, one more time.”
Undefeated opponent Adesanya, 29, was also trying to fight off tears heading into the Rod Laver Arena showdown.
“He’s going to make me cry,” Adesanya said. “F*** him. I’m a fan of this man, but just because I’m a fan, that doesn’t mean that he can can catch these hands and feet and elbows.
“Tomorrow we’re going to have some fun and I’ll send him off in a nice way.”
UFC commentator Ariel Helwani said he’d never seen anything like the emotional scenes.
Never seen this before. In his post weigh-in interview, Silva cried … a lot. Tears down his face. Couldn’t speak for a moment. Then Adesanya got choked bc Silva was choked up. But he added, “he’s trying to make me cry, f*ck him.”
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) February 9, 2019
Others were also taken aback by the tears from both men.
— Caden Helmers (@cadenhelmers) February 9, 2019
Anderson Silva starts crying and Israel Adesanya is holding back tears at #UFC234 weigh-ins. This is the strangest build-up to a fight.
— Mike Bohn (@MikeBohnMMA) February 9, 2019
Crazy moment at @ufc weigh ins. Silva cried and then when they interviewed style bender he teared up too. 🤔. Very odd to say the least. Not the Silva part…but Israel tearing up was very unexpected. @MadLabMMA
— TOMMY G (@TommyG) February 9, 2019
Class response from Adesanya (mixed with some personal flavor) to seeing Silva cry. Great stuff. #UFC234
— Brian Campbell (@BCampbellCBS) February 9, 2019