There’s close friendships, then there’s the type of relationship Anderson Silva and Ronaldo Souza share.
According to Silva, if he gets a future opportunity to fight Michael Bisping for the Middleweight title before his friend "Jacare" does, he wouldn’t turn it down, despite saying Souza is deserving, as well.
That said, if he happens to win the title, he wouldn’t keep it, he’d vacate it immediately in order to allow Ronaldo to pursue his own championship dreams.
"I’m rooting for (Souza) to get the opportunity to fight for the belt," Silva told Combate News via MMA Junkie. "If it doesn’t happen and I get that opportunity, of course I want to fight. Regardless of belt, but of course it’d be better to fight for the belt and beat Bisping. But I probably wouldn’t keep the belt. I’d give it away," he continues. "I wouldn’t fight, because it would get in the way of ‘Jacare"s journey. So if I fought for the title and won, I certainly wouldn’t keep it, I’d vacate it for sure."
Still, Silva maintains that UFC is a business, and the proper business move would be to give him another shot at the title based on all of his previous accomplishments and his close loss to "The Count" last year.
"I’d really like to fight (Bisping)," Silva said. "Regardless – and I’m not talking about ‘Jacare,’ we’re not talking about the sport itself right now, we’re talking about merit for time (served) – I think I deserve to fight Bisping for the belt. Or regardless of belt, but I think I deserve to fight for the belt for all I’ve done for the sport," he added.
"But I don’t think that’s something that will change my life if it doesn’t happen. ‘Jacare’ is right there in line, he’s fighting and pursuing this, but the UFC is a business. And, for the business, I believe that the fight that would sell a lot would be the rematch against Bisping for the belt. But, judging by the rule of the sport, I think ‘Jacare’ is the guy who should fight for the belt," concluded the former 185-pound title holder.
As it stands, Souza is set to make his long-awaited return to face Tim Boetsch at the upcoming UFC 208 pay-per-view (PPV) event on February 11. 2017 in Brooklyn, New York (details). Meanwhile, Silva will make his long-awaited return to face Derek Brunson the same night (read about it here).
As for Bisping, he is expected to make his next title defense against Yoel Romero later this year, but a time and a place has yet-to-be scheduled.