The UFC is a breeding ground for opportunities. It is a place where championships are won and lost in the blink of an eye. Understandably, in a business where success can be fleeting, it's obvious for fighters to be on their toes.
From verbal bashing to physical punishment, fans have witnessed fighters leaving no stone unturned for success. Amidst all the pounding and personal attacks, there are also instances of fighters valuing their bond with each other over money and fame.
That's not to say that the octagon hasn't witnessed two friends fighting each other and remaining on good terms. With that in mind, here are five fighters who have abstained from fighting their friends in the UFC.
#5. Khamzat Chimaev - UFC welterweight contender
Within his short time in the promotion, Khamzat Chimaev has established himself as one of the most exciting fighters in the 170 lbs division. Quick and unorthodox, Chimaev has been on a callout spree since 2021. From Conor McGregor to Colby Covington, 'Borz' has called out almost everyone on social media.
But aside from his love for finishing opponents, the Chechen-born fighter also shares a deep sense of brotherhood with fellow UFC fighter Darren Till. Their friendship dates back to 2021 when Chimaev offered to help Till following his loss to Derek Brunson. Since February 2022, the two have been training together at the Allstars Training Center in Sweden.
Till was recently seen at Chimaev's corner during his fight with Gilbert Burns at UFC 273. While the octagon has witnessed friends fighting each other, 'Borz' has shot down the idea of fighting 'The Gorilla'.
The two appeared on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani when Chimaev was asked about the prospects of fighting his friend in the future. Responding to the question, 'Borz' said:
"No. Not me. I know this guy wanna fight me, but not me. I can’t fight with my brothers. The guy [Darren Till] don’t care. He fight for money."
The Brit responded to Chimaev's statement by saying:
"You know what I’m like with my teammates, Tom Aspinall and Team Kaobon back home. It’s the same with Khamzat now."
Watch the full interview here:
#4. Anderson Silva - Former UFC middleweight champion
Not long ago, Anderson Silva was the promotion's number one pound-for-pound fighter. 'The Spider' was one of the most well-rounded fighters of his time and faced some of the best on his way to greatness.
Fans like to matchup champions across different weight classes, and in Silva's case, it also included one with Lyoto Machida. While it's natural for fighters to seek newer challenges to further their careers, Silva was against the idea of facing his compatriot in the octagon.
He even announced that he would rather stop fighting than fight the former light heavyweight champion. He said:
"I've already said it and I'll say it again, Lyoto and myself, we are brothers, Lyoto and myself...We have a code of honor amongst ourselves, which is we don't fight against ourselves regardless of wins or losses, or money, fame or not. I would give up fighting if necessary if I had to fight against Lyoto."
Although 'The Spider' did mention that he might reconsider his stance on not fighting Machida, the fight never materialized.
#3. Daniel Cormier
UFC Hall of Famer Daniel Cormier is easily one of the best fighters in the promotion's history. Although he came from a wrestling background, he was just as good on his feet. While there was a long list of fighters 'DC' faced in the octagon, he refused to fight his friend Cain Velasquez.
A two-time UFC heavyweight champion, Velasquez was also a teammate of Cormier's at American Kickboxing Academy. The two were sparring partners and were well acquainted with each other's fighting styles. That's one of the reasons why Cormier never fought Velasquez. He never contested for the heavyweight as long as Velasquez reigned at the top.
During an interview with MMA Weekly, 'DC' was asked about a possible fight between him and Velasquez. He, however, immediately squashed all rumors by saying:
"I become the heavyweight champion of the world, he wins a comeback fight and is in line to fight for the title, I'd walk away again. There is no way I would ever fight him. This is his division."
Watch the full interview here:
#2. Dustin Poirier
Former interim UFC lightweight champion Dustin Poirier is another example of a fighter who refused to fight a friend in the octagon.
Poirier, who fights out of the prestigious American Top Team gym in Florida, has refused to share the octagon with his friend and teammate Jorge Masvidal. The two seem to be good friends and are often seen training together.
Following his loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov, 'The Diamond' was asked to comment on the prospects of fighting 'Gamebred' for the BMF title. Addressing the question at the press conference, he said:
"Jorge is a buddy of mine. I don’t sell out like f**king Colby Covington. I don’t talk bad about people who I roll with. No, Jorge is a buddy of mine, I won’t fight him. He’s a training partner. He’s a good guy."
Watch the full press conference here:
Masvidal too has never shied away from acknowledging his respect for Poirier. For instance, he was one of the first fighters to congratulate Poirier after his win over Conor McGregor at UFC 257.
#1. Kamaru Usman - UFC welterweight champion
UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman has punished many big names in the octagon. 'The Nigerian Nightmare' has locked horns with the likes of Colby Covington and Jorge Masvidal, and still manages to stay unbeaten.
Needless to say, the number one men's pound-for-pound fighter in the UFC has always relished challenges. While champions change weight class in search of new challenges, Usman isn't someone who is willing to do that. At least not as long as Israel Adesanya is the middleweight champion.
Both Usman and Adesanya are known for wearing their African identities with pride. In fact, that's the reason why Usman has shot down the possibility of a fight with Adesanya.
Speaking to Joe Rogan on The Joe Rogan Experience, he said:
"I don't see myself ever fighting Israel... Having two belts in Nigeria is better than one guy holding two belts."
Watch the full segment here: