Brad Tavares says he was offered Anderson Silva prior to UFC on ESPN+ 20 booking

LAS VEGAS – UFC middleweight Brad Tavares would love the opportunity to fight against one of the all-time greats.

Before Tavares (17-5 MMA, 12-5 UFC) was booked to face Ian Heinisch (13-2 MMA, 2-1 UFC) at UFC on ESPN+ 20, he received an offer to fight former middleweight king Anderson Silva (34-10 MMA, 17-6 UFC), the Hawaiian middleweight told MMA Junkie.

At the time, Tavares had to decline the offer because he was still in recovery from a broken arm suffered at the hands of Israel Adesanya in July 2018. The recovery process was a bumpy road for Tavares, who eventually underwent surgery.

“That (offer) was whenever the last time he fought was,” Tavares said. “That was way too early for my arm. I wasn’t even cleared at that point.”

Instead of a fight with Tavares, Silva fought at UFC 237 in May against rising middleweight contender Jared Cannonier. Late in the first round, Silva lost by TKO due to a knee injury.

While Tavares is now scheduled to fight Heinisch, he hopes the opportunity to fight Silva presents itself again in the future. The 31-year-old fighter said Silva has been a role model of his for years and it would be a “dream come true to stand across the UFC cage from him”.

“I would definitely love to fight Anderson,” Tavares said. “He’s a guy who, for a large part of my career, I’ve looked up to the man. At one point he was the greatest fighter on the planet, pound-for-pound, regardless of what anybody says. To share the octagon with him would be a dream come true.”

For now, Tavares has to focus on the task at hand, Heinisch. The two middleweights will square off Oct. 26 at UFC on ESPN+ 20 at Singapore Indoor Stadium in Kallang. The event streams on ESPN+.

“I wouldn’t say he brings anything I haven’t seen,” Tavares said, of Heinisch. “(I have) a lot of respect for the guy. (He’s) very tough, very durable, and he brings it. His style is aggressive and he brings it, so that’s something I’m getting ready for.

“As far as the martial arts side of things and the skills side of things, I’ve seen it all before. I’ve fought better strikers, better wrestlers, better jiu-jitsu practitioners, but I’m not taking the guy lightly.”

Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie

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