Anderson Silva is willing to live with Roy Jones Jr. remaining his boxing idol, if never a fight rival.
The longest reigning champion in UFC history has since left the octogen for the ring, where he will fight in his second consecutive sanctioned pro boxing match. Silva (2-1, 1KOs in boxing; 34-11, 26 KOs/submissions in MMA) will face fellow UFC legend Tito Ortiz on a Triller Fight Club Pay-Per-View show set for September 11 in Miami, Florida.
The bout comes three months after the Brazilian superstar scored a stunning decision win over former middleweight titlist Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. on June 19 in Guadalajara, Mexico. Both fights come in lieu of his desire to share a ring with Jones, a fight that never advanced beyond preliminary negotiations.
“We’ve talked about the fight for a long time,” Silva acknowledged during a virtual press conference to otherwise discuss the fight with Ortiz. “I’m a big fan of Roy Jones, been a big fan for a long time.
“I think the fight is not happening anymore.”
The fight was first discussed back in 2008, when Jones—now 52—was 39 years old and still in search of one more title run while Sliva was 33 and more than a year into his eventual record-shattering UFC middleweight title reign. The bout never materialized, with Jones going on to face Joe Calzaghe who survived an opening round knockdown to soundly outpoint the legendary former four-division titlist later that year.
Silva went on to establish an incredible mark in the octagon, retaining the middleweight title for nearly seven years before losing the crown in the first of two fights with Chris Weidman in 2013. It marked the bitter run of his otherwise incredible career, winning just once in his final nine fights in UFC before being released last November.
The now 46-year-old fighter looks to make a go of it in the ring, firmly fixed on his upcoming challenge of Ortiz (21-12 in MMA) who makes his pro debut as a boxer. Silva plans to continue his boxing career beyond September 11—if never versus Jones, then at least doing his part to emulate his all-time favorite fighter, even to the dismay of his team.
“I’m a big fan of Roy Jones, I was for his entire career. I try to copy him,” admits Silva. “My coach doesn’t like it but I tried to copy everything Roy Jones Jr. did. My coach told me to stop. He told me I’m not Roy Jones, so I stop.”
Silva-Ortiz serves in supporting capacity to an eight-round bout between Hall of Fame former heavyweight titlist Evander Holyfield, who fights for the first time since 2011 as he faces former UFC light heavyweight champion Vitor Belfort.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox