Weepy weigh-in: Anderson Silva and Israel Adesanya choke up ahead of epic clash at UFC 234 (VIDEO)
Silva is making his return to the octagon after a two-year hiatus to make a final run at the UFC middleweight world title he once held for 2,457 days.Also on rt.com A world title, a UFC legend and the sport's next big star: A look ahead to UFC 234
He will face the spectacular young star Adesanya, a former world-class kickboxing ace who has transitioned to mixed martial arts and compiled a 15-0 record.
Now the pair will do battle in the co-main event in Melbourne with a shot at the UFC middleweight title awaiting the winner.
The scale of the event clearly had a big effect on 43-year-old Silva, who needed several seconds to compose himself before addressing the Melbourne crowd.
With tears in his eyes, he said: "Thank you, guys. I worked my entire life for this sport and I tried to do my best.
"I need to say thank you God for giving me one more time a great opportunity to give a great show for you guys.
"Thank you Australia, thank you Dana [White, UFC president]. Thank you so much."
The emotions found their way across the stage to the usually super-confident Adesanya, too, who tried to joke his tears away as he took his turn on the microphone.
"He's trying to make me cry! F**k him!" he laughed.
"Melbourne, what's up! Big shout out to everyone who paid [and] came through to from everywhere around the world to watch this show.
"And a special shoutout - he's trying to make me cry, for real! - to everyone from Auckland, that came through. I appreciate you."
Then, after recomposing himself, Adesanya turned his attention to the task at hand, as he looks to defeat the UFC legend and propel himself into a world title fight later in the year.Also on rt.com 'The Lance Armstrong of MMA': Anderson Silva slammed by opponent's coach ahead of UFC 234 bout
And despite his coach labeling the Brazilian veteran "The Lance Armstrong of MMA" earlier in the week, Adesanya couldn't help himself from a final word of respect for Silva, who he vowed to send into retirement "in a nice way."
"Look, I'm a fan of this man, but just because I'm a fan, it doesn't mean he can't catch these hands! And elbows! And feet! And knees!" he said as the crowd roared their approval.
"Tomorrow we're going to throw everything in the cage. We're gonna have fun, alright? I'll send him off in a nice way. Let's go!"