Former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva is returning to the Octagon in February at UFC 234 to take on Israel Adesanya, but he reserved some fighting words for fellow living MMA legend Georges St-Pierre.

Speaking to ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, Silva spoke of a potential bout against Conor McGregor, saying it could happen despite the disparity in size between the two men.

However, Brazil’s Silva is less confident of a bout with one of the all-time greats in St-Pierre.

“That’s an interesting fight, but Georges has never come to accept the challenge,” Silva said.

“Georges just runs, runs, runs. It’s crazy. I do not think Georges wants the fight, but that’s OK. I respect Georges. He is a great fighter. Maybe he just has a different view – to take easy fights. That’s not me. I like to take the big challenges in my life.

“Georges is very lucky and very smart,” Silva continued. “He never goes to take a fight if it’s not easy. That’s the point. Georges, for me, is a great fighter, but he never takes the real challenges in life. That’s my opinion. I respect him, but that’s my opinion.”

Silva hasn’t competed in the Octagon since a disputed unanimous decision victory over Derek Brunson at UFC 208 early last year. That win saw Silva snap his five-fight run without a victory inside the cage.

“The Spider” was handed a one-year suspension by USADA after failing a drug test, said to be due to taking a contaminated supplement.