Anderson Silva
Silva returns to the octagon on Saturday. Getty

Is Conor McGregor vs Anderson Silva a remotely realistic possibility? If the money is right, then the answer is yes, according to the UFC's first ever double champion.

Silva, 41, returns to the octagon on Saturday (11 February) at UFC 208 to take on Derek Brunson as one of the UFC's most dominant middleweight champions seeks to repair his reputation after suffering four defeats and a no contest since his last win – a one-round knockout over Stephan Bonnar back in October 2012.

Realising he is coming to the end of an illustrious career, the Brazilian is keen to test himself against McGregor, the man he praises for changing "everything in the UFC" for the better.

"I think [a fight with McGregor is] a great challenge for my martial arts techniques," he told Fox Sports. "I don't talk to disrespect Conor. I do it for the challenge, for myself and the best stand-up fighting. I respect Conor and I think this is a great show, it is a great fight for the rest of my life. For the rest of my story in the UFC."

McGregor last fought in November 2016 when he beat Eddie Alvarez to take his lightweight crown, and is not expected to return to action until the second half of 2017. Despite this, the Dubliner remains firmly at the top of the news agenda as far as the fight game is concerned.

His recent Q&A session in Manchester at the end of January predictably saw a number of topics thrown his way, everything from the growing possibility of a meeting with Floyd Mayweather to joining WWE later this year.

'The Notorious' has consistently remained open to fighting anyone from the UFC or beyond wishing to challenge him, and insisted Silva is no different.

"You see Anderson [Silva]? What's Anderson talking about? What the [expletive] is Anderson Silva talking about? He keeps mentioning my name over and over again," McGregor said, Yahoo Sport reports. "Look, I'll fight any one of them. Make sure the numbers are right, make sure the situation is right. I'll fight any one of them at any given time."

The significance difference in weight could prove a stumbling block, however. McGregor has won titles at featherweight (145lbs) and lightweight (155lbs), also stepping up to welterweight (170lbs) twice in his brutal encounters with Nate Diaz in 2016.

Silva meanwhile has spent the majority of his career fighting as a middleweight (185lbs), also competing at light-heavyweight (205lbs).