Anderson Silva isn't feeling the love from his Brazilian countrymen.
Silva, the longtime UFC middleweight champion who's slated to return from his gruesome leg injury and fight Nick Diaz in UFC 183's main event, has for years resisted a bout against fellow Brazilian contenders Lyoto Machida and Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza, publicly quashing any mention of a fight against either of the two men, both of whom Silva considers to be good friends and training partners.
Only now he's starting to wonder why they aren't returning the favor.
"Jacare is my friend, Lyoto is my friend. But all the time, [those] guys don't talk the same as me," Silva said on a Thursday conference call. "When I go to talk to people for media, I say, ‘I no go fight Lyoto because he's my friend, I no go fight Jacare because he's my friend.' But when those guys go and talk to the media, Lyoto says, ‘I go fight Anderson because I go fight.' Jacare says, ‘I go fight because I go fight, because I'm a fighter.' But my opinion, I don't like the positions that Lyoto and Jacare (are taking), because I don't go fight these guys. Because I'm training with Lyoto for a long time, sometimes I train with Jacare.
"When I go train with guys, I go to help you. ... I put 50-percent of my energy into helping the guys. When the guys talk like this, I'm very, very, very disappointed."
Silva's comments were likely prompted by a recent interview Machida conducted with Brazilian outlet Tatame, in which Machida said he would "of course" accept a fight against Silva if the UFC specifically requested it.
Machida went on to add that he doesn't like to entertain the idea because he doubts the fight would actually happen, but nonetheless Silva remains irked by his response.
"I think I need to talk (about) this with the guys, because I talk all the time for the media," Silva said. "When you guys give me this question, I talk the same. Lyoto is my friend, Jacare trained together with me. And I don't like to fight Brazilian guys. I don't like it. This is my opinion. I understand this is a sport, the guys stay in the UFC for fights, but I don't like to fight Brazilian guys."
For what it's worth, the man who manages both Silva and Machida, Black House co-founder Ed Soares, believes that when it comes down to it, the discussion is really much ado about nothing.
"There's no rift at all," Soares told MMAFighting.com. "They're friends. They're still having barbecues together at my house, they're kids are running around the house playing together. It's all good. But that's why it's a little awkward.
"I think that they're willing to fight because that's what they have to say. Lyoto doesn't want to fight Anderson. But, they both want the same thing. Lyoto's not going fight Anderson if it's not for a title. But if one of them has the title and the other one wants to get it, then they're going to have to fight, and there's no way around it."
As Soares says, in the end, Silva's hands ultimately may be forced by circumstance.
UFC President Dana White recently announced that a win at UFC 183 will grant Silva another shot at his long-held middleweight title. Should Silva emerge victorious over the winner of Chris Weidman vs. Vitor Belfort, both Souza and Machida would be among the next logical contenders for the belt. So at that point, the decision may not be Silva's to make.
"I work for UFC, so I'm part of the UFC family," Silva said. "So if Dana decides that I go and fight, I go home and prepare for a fight.
"If Dana gives me the chance for the belt, I go fight for the belt. But I don't like to fight Brazilian guys.