UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva, currently the most popular pick for the world's top pound-for-pound fighter, may not retire when he turns 35 after all.
Silva gave the MMA world a jolt when, during a September interview with a Brazilian cable channel, he said was planning to retire after he turns 35 and fulfills the terms of his current UFC contract.
Silva, who's expected to headline UFC 95 on Feb. 21, turns 35 on April 14, 2010. He has five fights remaining on his current UFC deal.
And while Silva would like to conclude his stellar career while on top of his game, his manager, Ed Soares, told MMAjunkie.com
) the retirement at 35 is far from a guarantee.
"Here's the situation," Soares said. "His goal when we signed with the UFC was for him to retire at 35 years old. That was the goal, and I think we need to keep that goal in check. We work to follow through with that goal. Now, he's 35 in only 18 months, so ideally, my goal as his manager is to put him in a situational financially so that when he's 35, if he feels like retiring, he'll be able to retire.
"But that doesn't mean he will necessarily retire at 35. ... At the end of the day, man, when gets to 35, he could feel like he has a few more fights in him."
So the retirement talk is primarily a source of motivation not for Silva, but for Soares himself?
"Of course -- and for people to go buy those pay per views now," Soares joked.
Regardless of the end date, Silva has a minimum of five challenges ahead of him. He's recently begun training with famed boxing coach Freddie Roach and shows no signs of slowing down as his supposed retirement date beckons. Silva could could put those new striking skills to use for an overseas event.
Silva recently defended his title with a third-round TKO of Patrick Cote at UFC 90, and he's expected to return next at UFC 95 in London, England.
While there have been rumors of a fight with Chuck Liddell at the February event, Soares said nothing is definite and that they haven't even met with the UFC about the event.
"Next week I'm meeting with (UFC President) Dana (White), and hopefully we finalize who his opponent is and where it's going to be," Soares said.
But is Silva open to the Liddell fight?
"He wants to fight against the best," Soares said. "Whoever the best is, that's who we want to fight. If whoever the world, the fans, want to see, that's what we're here to do. Anderson never picks his opponents. He wants to fight against the best, and if it happens to be at 205 pounds, he'll fight at 205. If it happens to be at 185 pounds as a title defense, it'll be a 185-pound title defense. Anderson just wants to put on history-making fights."