If I were playing fantasy matchmaker and lining up the best fights the UFC could offer in 2010, my short list would probably include Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira
vs. Junior dos Santos
, Anderson Silva
vs. Lyoto Machida
, and the Silva-Machida winner against Nogueira's brother, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira
But in the real world we live in, those fights aren't going to happen. And in his chat with MMAFighting.com on Tuesday
, Rodrigo Nogueira explained why.
Asked if he would fight dos Santos if the UFC wanted him to, Nogueira answered, simply, "No."
I then asked him to elaborate, and he said, "I don't want to fight my friends. [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.
Nogueira said it's the same with his brother, Machida and Silva, all of whom are friends and training partners.
"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.
Nogueira praised Silva as the best fighter in the world and a great sparring partner, and he said dos Santos has been a tremendous sparring partner for him as well. But he said that if we want to see any of those Brazilian buddies in the cage with each other, we're going to have to get invited to their gym to watch them train. It won't happen inside the Octagon.