Anderson Silva 'close to calling it quits' after UFC 168 title fight against Chris Weidman

Buda Mendes

Now that Georges St. Pierre has made the first move, perhaps that makes it easier for other champions to walk away.

Anderson Silva is quickly approaching 39 years of age, but that doesn't mean the former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) middleweight champion has any plans to hang up his gloves.

Or does it?

During this week's UFC 168 pre-fight press conference, "The Spider" declared -- just like fellow Brazilian superstar Cristiano Ronaldo when he's met with retirement questions -- he's coming back "to play."

"I'm going to answer this like Ronaldo did once: of course I'm going to go back and play and I'm very happy and of course I'm coming back."

After Silva suffered the first loss of his Octagon career to Chris Weidman at UFC 162 earlier this year, questions began to surface if Anderson would walk away from the fight game.

His initial hesitance to talk about a possible rematch against "All American" only added fuel to the fire.

But it wasn't until after the Brazilian bomber had a heart-to-heart conversation with his son that he knew fighting would still be part of his life.

But in what capacity?

"After the last fight, after the dust settled I was sitting thinking alone and thinking maybe I should stop. Maybe this is it. But I got on the phone with my son and my son said, 'Hey dad, do what you want to do, do what makes you happy,' and that's what I'm doing."

The enormous 10-fight deal he signed earlier this year assured that Anderson's MMA career would end under the ZUFFA umbrella. His next bout will see him attempt to reclaim his title as he tries to get revenge on the man who ended his historic title reign when he meets the aforementioned Weidman at UFC 168 this weekend (Sat., Dec. 28, 2013).

And while Silva is adamant he will see his contract through, a loss may change those plans and finally send him to the ring to face Roy Jones Jr.

Or retirement, according to his interview with Ariel Helwani:

"We're always close to stopping. We're always close to calling it quits. I don't know. I have a great, great chance for stopping."

As if the UFC 168 main event wasn't compelling enough already.

Stay tuned.

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