Silva not interested in fighting Machida
The subject of teammate fighting teammate in MMA is an age-old debate that never really has a right or wrong answer.
Some fighters consider it almost sacrilege to even suggest facing a teammate, while others will just chalk the exercise up to being part of the business and if it happens, it happens.
Consider former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva on the side of the former because the mere discussion of facing a teammate or friend isn't something he's willing to entertain.
Silva has trained with a multitude of UFC competitors over the years, but despite a seven-year reign as champion he never came face to face with a teammate who was coming close to challenging for his belt. While he's not even holding the title currently, Silva is aware that his good friend and training partner Lyoto Machida is now fighting at middleweight and he will be a contender on the first day he competes in the division.
Whether Machida is at the top of the division or the bottom, Silva doesn't really care because there's absolutely, positively no chance he's going to face his friend in the Octagon. The same can be said for his teammate Ronaldo 'Jacare' Souza, who has been rocketing up the middleweight ranks every since he arrived in the UFC.
He'd rather retire and call it a career first.
"I've already said it, and I'll say it again—Lyoto and myself we are brothers. Jacare and myself we are friends, camp friends. So we have a code of honor amongst ourselves that we don't fight against ourselves regardless of wins and losses, money or fame or not," Silva said on Monday at the UFC press conference held in Brazil. "So I would give up fighting if necessary if I had to fight against Lyoto."
The possibility of Silva having to make that choice isn't even a reality yet because he's got new middleweight champion Chris Weidman to contend with first at UFC 168. As for Machida, he hasn't even fought at 185 pounds until he makes his debut later this month at UFC Fight Night 30 from Manchester, England when he faces Mark Munoz in the main event.
While Silva's loyalty to his teammates is admirable, UFC president Dana White says to slow down on the talk about any fighter flat out refusing to face anyone else—teammate or not. This discussion has been had hundreds of times before, and when it's all said and done the UFC has never watched any fighter retire or leave the sport because they were being asked to take on a teammate.
White also has a little bit of insight into Silva's psyche and while he may smile and say things like he would quit before fighting Machida, the UFC's head honcho has also seen the other side of the Brazilian wrecking machine.
He's the one that mauled every middleweight (and a few light heavyweights) while sitting atop the throne as the best pound-for-pound fighter in the UFC. White knows Silva is a competitor who thrives on the thrill of victory, and he doesn't buy that any fight wouldn't happen if the stakes were high enough.
"Anderson Silva is an interesting man. When you get to know Anderson, Anderson cares about the guys that he trains with and everything else, but don't ever kid yourself on the type of competitor that he is. He isn't where he is today cause he's not a competitor," White said. "So when you ask about people that he's friends with and people that he respects, of course that's what he's going to say.
"But I truly believe myself, when it comes down to it and let's say Lyoto Machida comes in at 185 pounds and Anderson Silva has the title and Lyoto Machida makes the decision that he wants his title, I think we will see the competitor in Anderson Silva come out and we'll see what happens."
Before Silva can come back to this possible fight, he first has to get past Weidman and reclaim the UFC middleweight title. Machida also needs to make a successful weight cut and then defeat Munoz to stake his claim to the top of the middleweight division.
This conversation will likely go on hold until at least those two things happen, and if both are victorious then maybe it will become relevant again.