Anderson Silva explains why he wants to fight Conor McGregor

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Anderson Silva is arguably the greatest fighter in UFC history and he's never backed down from any challenge throughout his incredible career.

But now he's issuing a challenge of his own because before Silva's career is finished, he would like the chance to compete against UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor.

The matchup might sound strange considering Silva is the longest reigning middleweight champion of all-time while McGregor currently competes at 155 pounds -- a whopping 30 pounds less than the legendary Brazilian.

That being said, Silva has fought as low as welterweight earlier in his career and McGregor has obviously ventured up to 170 pounds for a pair of fights against Nate Diaz.

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Silva told FOX Sports on Friday that his request to fight McGregor isn't done with malice or because he dislikes the outspoken Irishman in some way. In fact, Silva says he holds McGregor in high regard, which is why he would love the opportunity to test himself against the lightweight champion inside the Octagon one day.

"First of all, I respect a lot Conor McGregor because this man changed everything in the UFC. Because I'm very respectful of Conor McGregor's style. I think it's a great challenge for my martial arts techniques," Silva said. "I don't talk to disrespect Conor.

"I do it for challenge, for myself and the best stand-up fighting. I respect Conor and I think this is a great show, it's a great fight for the rest of my life. For the rest of my story in the UFC."

It might seem that Silva's request to fight McGregor would also come with a time limit considering the former middleweight champion will turn 42 in April, but age won't define when he's going to stop fighting.

Silva signed a new 15-fight deal with the UFC prior to his bout with Nick Diaz in 2015 but no one expected him to actually compete for as long as it would take to go through that contact.

Silva refutes that by saying that he's as energetic now as he's ever been in his career and with the blessing of his family, he has no plans of retiring any time in the near future.

"Yeah of course. I'm so happy because in my heart I have energy. I have a lot of energy," Silva said. "In my mind and in my heart and I talked to my family and my family gives me support to finish my contract in the UFC.

"I think I have the energy to fight for more years. I think maybe six or seven years but I have energy. This is more important. I have energy. I have passion and I love my job."