Former Strikeforce middleweight titleholder Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza made his UFC debut in May and quickly became a UFC 185-pound contender when he steamrolled perennial top ten ranked Yushin Okami on Sept. 4.
Both fighters are longtime training partners of former middleweight champion Anderson Silva. Silva has stated many times in the past that he and Machida would never fight. But now that they’re in the same weight class, and with Souza’s emergence as a contender, the topic of teammates fighting each other has been rekindled.
“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,” said UFC president Dana White during the UFC World Tour: Weidman vs. Silva 2 press conference in Sao Paulo, Brazil on Monday.
“He isn’t where he is today because he’s not a competitor. So when you ask questions about people that he’s friends with and people that he respects, of course that’s what he’s going to say,” added White. “But I truly believe, myself, when it comes down to it and let's say 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 you’ll see the competitor in Anderson Silva come out.”
After White made his comments, Silva reiterated his unwavering stance on fighting teammates and took it a step further by saying he’d give up fighting if put in a situation where he had to fight Machida.
“I’ve already said it and I’ll say it again, Lyoto and myself, we are brothers, Lyoto and myself. ‘Jacare’ and myself, we are friends, camp friends. We have a code of honor amongst ourselves, which is we don’t fight against ourselves regardless of wins or losses, or money, fame or not,” said Silva. “I would give up fighting if necessary if I had to fight against Lyoto.”
Silva's seven-year UFC title reign came to an end at UFC 162 on July 6 when he was knocked out by Chris Weidman. The two will rematch on Dec. 28 in the UFC 168 main event at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.