Chute boxe teammates Wanderlei Silva and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua were both in the same division for years when fighting under the now defunct Japanese MMA organization known as Pride Fighting Championships. After both teammates had virtually cleared through the entire Pride middleweight division, it only seemed logical for them to step into the ring as competitors at some point. However, to the disappointment of many, that event never transpired.
Both Silva and Rua said that they would never fight each other. Understandable. It’s not hard to see why fighters would want to avoid fighting their own teammates: you train together everyday, you know each others moves and you’ve probably established a close friendship.
This same dilemma has taken place recently between Mark Munoz and Lyoto Machida. Except unlike Silva and Rua, Machida and Munoz have agreed to fight one other.
“[We trained together] two days before the fight got announced,” Munoz said to Ariel Helwani on Monday’s The MMA Hour. “So, it was quite recent. We talked about it and it took us by surprise. Unfortunately, we don’t want to do it, but it’s something we have to do and it’s just part of the business.”
Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida was originally set to face off against the 34 year-old American Tim Kennedy at UFC Fight for the Troops 3 this November. Apparently, the UFC had changed its mind. Munoz was originally scheduled to fight Michael Bisping but the Brit was forced to withdraw from their bout due to a serious eye injury. And above all people to fill the void left behind by the injured Bisping, the UFC chose Munoz’s friend and training partner, Lyoto Machida.
Munoz has had nothing but praise for Machida as a training partner, saying that they have both benefited from training with one another. However, he maintained that he taught Machida more than Machida taught him.
“I’ve learned some stuff from him, too,” said Munoz. “It goes both ways, you know? I taught him some stuff, he taught me some stuff, but for the most part we were training together. That’s how it was. I brought some insight to wrestling, he brought some insight to striking. It goes both ways, but I feel like I taught him more than he taught me.”
The fact that both of these fighters are familiar with each other’s techniques could make this fight more interesting, or more boring if both Machida and Munoz become unwilling to engage one another. Either way, it’s still not going to lessen the awkwardness when the two step into the cage to fight one another come this Saturday.