Anderson Silva, Roy Jones Jr. rekindle interest in crossover boxing match

Former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva's fighting future remains uncertain after a failed out-of-competition drug test forced him to withdraw from last month's UFC Shanghai. But that hasn't stopped him from continuing to chase his longtime fighting dream. 

Nearly a decade before Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor entered the boxing ring for their August crossover super fight, Silva and Roy Jones Jr. attempted to do the same thing until UFC intervened. 

Jones, 48, a former pound-for-pound king who has remained active against weak competition in recent years amid cries that he step away from the sport, talked about the fight during an appearance on the "Ask Gary Vee Show" on Friday.

"Me and Anderson Silva have been trying to fight way before Floyd and McGregor ever thought about this," Jones said. "We have been trying to fight for nine years now and [UFC] wouldn't let him get free to fight me. 

"It's like, you know how it is with the racial thing, black versus white sells tickets. It's like me and him could have done this a long time ago. We were at the pinnacle of our careers when we first started talking about it."

While Jones' assertion he was still in his prime when talks of facing Silva first began is far from accurate, he's still interested in seeing it happen. Silva, 42, is walking out his own career twilight in mixed martial arts, including four defeats in his last six fights.

"[Silva] still wants to fight me and I still want to fight him," Jones said. "He has 14 professional boxing matches so the different thing about it is, he has boxing experience. So it's conceivable that he could do it.

"Both of us want to fight right now still and the UFC won't let him free to fight. I'm 48, going on 49 in January, and because of how big it is, and how big of an event it is, and I know what it means to him, I'm still willing to fight Anderson Silva tomorrow if he was free to do it." 

For the record, Silva (1-1) has just two pro bouts on his resume, according to boxrec.com. But "The Spider" has long called Jones (65-9, 47 KOs) his idol and inspiration as a fighter. Jones reciprocated the love on Friday, calling Silva "one of my all-time favorites to watch [in UFC]."

Upon hearing the audio of Jones' comments, Silva instantly responded with a a post on his Instagram page

With UFC president Dana White recently announcing that both he and the promotion are set to enter the boxing promotional game, it's fair to wonder whether this "dream fight," which has certainly lost its luster due to the age and decline of both, is still a possibility. One also has to wonder how Silva's failed drug test, his second in two years, might affect matters. 

In November, Silva posted a lengthy note on Twitter in which he failed to accept responsibility for the failed test and noted that his medical team was working with USADA on finding out the reason. 

During an interview last Saturday with fighthype.com, Jones said he wasn't worried one bit about Silva taking performance-enhancing drugs ahead of their fight.

"Me and Anderson Silva started this, so me and Anderson Silva are gonna finish this," Jones said. "So if the UFC would go on and let him free, I don't care about no PEDs. He can have all the PEDs he wants because that's my man. I don't believe he'd take PEDs against me, no way, but even if he had a PED show up in his system, I don't care about that. … Anderson takes precedence to everybody."

CBS Sports Insider

Brian Campbell covers MMA, boxing and WWE. The Connecticut native joined CBS Sports in 2017 and has covered combat sports since 2010. He has written and hosted various podcasts and digital shows for ESPN... Full Bio

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