The MMA universe is waiting with bated breath on who “Notorious” Conor McGregor’s next opponent will be. The “champ champ” has continued to stay relevant during the COVID-19 pandemic by prodding fellow fighters over social media, spurring rumors about potential bouts.
There is no shortage of names such as interim lightweight champion Justin Gaethje, current lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, undefeated pro boxer Floyd Mayweather and now, more recently, Anderson “The Spider” Silva.
Online sportsbook Bovada has released odds on whether a bout between McGregor and Silva will occur by the end of 2020 with “Yes” listed at +300 and “No” coming back as the -400 favorite. Should this fight take place, the Brazilian, Silva, has been pegged as the -125 betting favorite with the Irishman, McGregor, being the slight -105 underdog.
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Odds as of May 29 at Bovada
Odds as of May 29 at Bovada
Be sure to check out our UFC odds page for the latest up-to-date betting lines.
How Did McGregor vs Silva Arise?
In mid-May, McGregor went on a long Twitter rant about who he believed was the MMA GOAT. He listed Silva, the former middleweight champion, as the No. 1 name on that list but suggested that by the end of his career, he would take over that top spot.
Anderson then went to Instagram to suggest a super-fight at a catchweight of 176.37 pounds should be in order between the two. This feud dates back nearly two years as McGregor foreshadowed a bout with Silva ahead of his UFC 229 fight with Nurmagomedov.
Conor McGregor vs Anderson Silva next?— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) October 2, 2018
“I’d be interested in an Anderson Silva bout,” @TheNotoriousMMA says. “I swear to God. Anderson is a legend of the game. I’m sure he’s hunting for a few quid, as well.”
Full: https://t.co/vaq5lNEsYJ pic.twitter.com/iclnU5vUU4
It didn’t take long for McGregor to respond with a short but to-the-point tweet.
I accept. https://t.co/HYqF132EvZ— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) May 28, 2020
McGregor vs Silva Odds Analysis
It’s not very often that you will see Notorious as the betting underdog in a UFC fight. Looking back at Conor McGregor's odds, he has closed as a dog just twice through his 12-fight UFC career, both times in title fights. The first came against Jose Aldo for the featherweight strap when McGregor was a small -105 underdog and won the fight in 13 seconds via knockout. The second was for the lightweight belt when he was a +130 dog vs Khabib Nurmagomedov in a bout the Ireland native lost via fourth-round submission.
For those who are new to UFC, Anderson Silva won 16 straight fights from 2006 to 2012, including 10 middleweight title defenses, and 14 of those wins were finishes. However, the longest title reign in UFC history came to an end when he was knocked out by Chris Weidman at UFC 162. Since then, The Spider has just one win in his last eight fights. It may come as a bit of a surprise that he is the favorite, having not been the betting fave since his loss to Michael Bisping in 2016.
When And Will This Fight Take Place?
I don’t know if the betting odds are correct with the likelihood of this fight not taking place by the end of 2020 a large favorite. It’s no surprise that McGregor wants another shot at lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, however, the champ already has an opponent waiting in the wings with interim lightweight champion Justin Gaethje likely in September – so consider Nurmagomedov off the table.
The next fight that many believed would happen was McGregor vs Jorge Masvidal for the BMF title. That said, neither fighter appears to have an interest in this bout as there’s been little to no back and forth, and recently Masvidal has suggested he wants to run back the fight with Nate Diaz.
Welterweight champion Kamaru Usman is also without an opponent and there have been some rumblings about McGregor being that man. Even Usman’s manager Ali Abdelaziz took to social media to drum up a potential title fight between the two. That said, McGregor didn’t respond to this proposal, suggesting that he’s not interested.
What a weird world it is that the market for a fight with McGregor, which was coined a “red panty night” just a few years ago with many fighters calling him out to get a big payday, has completely dried up and the former two-division champ is without a dance partner. Anderson Silva still has a couple of fights left on his contract and at the spry age of 45, the time may be now for this super-fight.
How Will This Fight Play Out?
This would most likely be a strictly standup battle, but who does that favor? Based on the odds, Anderson, but in actuality, I’m not too sure. McGregor’s striking is among the best – if it’s not the best – in the UFC, a superlative associated with Silva for so long.
The Spider was a master at reading his opponent’s movements, downloading their tendencies and then going on the attack. He would stand in front of his foes, daring them to throw strikes and avoiding them as if they were moving in slow motion before he would start firing crisp, accurate and powerful shots of his own.
Notorious has a similar approach but rather than bending away from strikes, he uses outstanding footwork to avoid damage and fires back with a piston-like left hand that has led to 19 of his 22 pro wins coming by knockout. In his win over Donald Cerrone, he swarmed him with a flurry of punches and kicks and even landed some fantastic shoulder strikes in the clinch that battered Cowboy.
The biggest factor for me is the size. The only striker to give McGregor trouble in the Octagon was Nate Diaz, who dropped him and submitted him in their first meeting and landed some crisp shots in the rematch as well. Diaz is the only fighter to have a longer reach (76 inches) than the Irishman’s 74 – Anderson has a 77.5-inch reach. Additionally, Silva would be the best kicker that McGregor has ever faced as well, something new that we haven’t seen.
A very interesting fight if it comes to fruition, this one has all the makings of a fight of the night and potential fight of the year candidate.
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