Former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva will return to the Octagon in 2019, against one of the hottest contenders in the sport.
The UFC has booked Silva against undefeated Nigerian Israel Adesanya at UFC 234 on Feb. 9 (Feb. 10 local) in Melbourne, Australia, UFC president Dana White told ESPN on Saturday. The 185-pound contest is expected to serve as the UFC 234 co-main event.
Silva, 43, hasn't fought since a decision win against Derek Brunson in February 2017. He failed a random drug test in October 2017. However, the United States Anti-Doping Agency ultimately ruled the positive test was caused by a contaminated dietary supplement, and Silva agreed to a one-year suspension.
Long considered the greatest fighter of all time, Silva (34-8) has just one win in the past five years. The Brazilian held the record for most consecutive UFC title defenses for years, until flyweight Demetrious Johnson broke the mark in October 2017.
Adesanya, 29, will be coming off a breakout 2018.
Fighting out of New Zealand, Adesanya (15-0) made his UFC debut in February and has rattled off four wins, including a sensational first-round knockout over Brunson at UFC 230 in November.