In a recent interview with MMAfighting.com, UFC 110 headliner Antonio “Minotauro” Nogueira discussed how, if the UFC asked, he would not fight a friend or training partner.
Another example of a modern day MMA dilemma that has become a prominent obstacle for many big named fighters who train with other elite competitors at the same gyms or teams.
UFC light-heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida has also expressed his unwillingness to enter the octagon with friend, Anderson Silva, in what would be a super-fight for the promotion and fans.
The same sentiments have been discovered, to president Dana White’s dismay, in interviews over the last year or two from fighters in renowned camps like: American Kickboxing Academy, Team Black House, Greg Jackson trained fighters, American Top Team, all of which have produced numerous contenders.
Nogueira, a member of Team Black House in Brazil, explained that it would never be an option to square-off against fellow Brazilians—Junior Dos Santos, Anderson Silva, brother Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, Lyoto Machida—no matter what weight class.
With the heavyweight division filled to the brim with solid contenders, the most likely future match-up would be with fellow heavyweight, Junior Dos Santos, who has been quickly climbing the ranks. It is a prospective battle Nogueira wants nothing to do with.
“I don’t want to fight my friends,” the Brazilian explained during the interview. “[Dos Santos] came to me when he was a kid to train and now he’s a member of my team. He’s become one of the best fighters in the world and I can’t see myself fighting against my friend.
He’s actually staying at my house right now, and he’s training with my brother, and I can’t see fighting him. There are other heavyweights I can face and he can face. I know some day Junior will be able to fight for the championship without us needing to fight each other.”
He later stressed the important roles each fighter possessed during training at Black House and how personal bonds were paramount to everything else.
“Guys who are my friends, guys who I visit their homes, I don’t feel like fighting those guys,” Nogueira said. “It’s the same with my brother — I can’t see him fighting Anderson, they’re too close. Anderson is one of my best friends, and of course my brother is very close — I can’t see them fighting each other.”