Lyoto Machida claims Anderson Silva didn't want Chris Weidman rematch, but UFC 'demanded it'

Esther Lin for MMA Fighting

Was Anderson Silva pressured by the higher ups at ZUFFA to accept a rematch against Chris Weidman at UFC 168? Lyoto Machida, Silva's friend and training partner, seems to think he was.

Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva wasn't too keen on fighting for his title again after Chris Weidman emphatically dethroned him at UFC 162 last month in Las Vegas, Nevada.

But after having a few days to clear his mind -- and perhaps a cobweb or three -- "The Spider" had a sudden change of heart, signing on the dotted line to face "All American" at UFC 168 on Dec. 28, 2013 in "Sin City."

Perhaps it was the urge to reclaim his coveted 185-pound strap that convinced the scrappy Brazilian to reconsider, or maybe it was his desire to prove haters wrong by demonstrating that he is still the best in the world with a win over Weidman.

Or was it something else?

According to friend and training partner Lyoto Machida's comments to Globo (via Fighters Only), it seems Silva may have been pressured into the rematch by UFC officials.

He explains:

"Anderson's rematch is fair; the guy ruled the division for a long time. He maybe didn't really want to fight for the belt again but the UFC demanded it. I believe it wasn't only Anderson's intentions that prevailed in this situation."

I wonder if they pressured him into putting this video out, too.

Strong-armed or not, Silva will indeed collide with Weidman one more time as he returns to the Las Vegas this December in hopes of recapturing his crown, his spot as the pound-for-pound best and perhaps even some dignity.

Any of you Maniacs care to dissect "The Dragon's" pressure theory? Perhaps there is more to Silva's sudden change of heart than meets the eye...

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