In the current day of Mixed Martial Arts, there has been a reoccurring problem of team members not wanting to fight fellow team members. For instance, from Greg Jackson's camp, Rashad Evans and Keith Jardine have sworn never to face each other. Similarly, Team Rough House’s top welterweight prospects, Dan Hardy and Paul Daley, have also stated that they will never fight each other.
But the most notable clash comes from Team Black House.
Current UFC Light-Heavyweight Champion Lyoto Machida and UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva have said on multiple occasions that they will not fight each other because they value their friendship more than a big money bout. UFC President Dana White, on the other hand, begs to differ, stating that if he wants them to fight, “They will fight.”
Now looking to another perspective. Yoshizo Machida, the father and trainer of our current king at 205 pounds, recently conducted an interview with PVT Mag.
When asked about his son facing Anderson Silva in a champion-vs.-champion bout, he said, "There is only one champion, so I believe this fight must happen. It's a professional issue, and I believe they can fight. Deep down, everyone wants to know who is strongest. Friendship is friendship, but they're not amateurs. The eventual winner isn't my concern. What matters to me is how they win, and their strategy. This would be a mental battle."
So the question becomes as follows: "At this elite level, should friendship be put aside for the spirit of competition?" In my humble opinion, yes.
Machida and Silva are two fighters who top the rankings for their home weight classes. Furthermore, with Silva making two trips up to the 205-pound class, it seems logical that a light-heavyweight clash should be in the works.
But before either man worries about squaring off against each other, they have tough Brazilian challengers staring at their gold.
Machida will defend his light-heavyweight gold against the man who took him 25 minutes to defeat in October, Mauricio "Shogun" Rua, on May 1. Silva has to worry about the heavy-handed Vitor Belfort, who's chasing his middleweight championship, on April 10.