With just three fights left on his contract Anderson Silva’s manager Ed Soares has this week told  MMAweekly that he is in no hurry to retire.

“I think Anderson’s got a good two, three years probably. He’s got a good eight or nine fights probably left in him for sure, maybe more,” Soares estimated.

It’s undoubtedly good news for both MMA fans, and for the UFC to know that one of the pound-for-pound greats in the sport will continue to showcase his skills inside the octagon.

So what does his future hold?  It’s clear that it’s something that Soares, who manages many of Brazil’s best fighters, and Silva have discussed.

“I believe the last fights of his career will definitely be big fights,” Soares Says.  “That’s what he wants, to have the big fights, regardless of what the weight is. Whether it’s at light heavyweight, whether it’s at heavyweight, whether it’s at a catchweight, doesn’t make a different. He just wants to challenge himself and be involved in some of the biggest fights.”

One man who will have a big say in whether this becomes a reality or not is Dana White.

The UFC president has not been afraid to go against Silva’s wishes in the past.  For instance he shut-down the idea of ‘The Spider’ fighting the boxer Roy Jones Jr, and more recently Silva’s dissatisfaction with Vitor Belfort being lined up as his next challenger apparently fell on deaf ears.

Based on comments made in the past few months it seems that White may not quite see eye-to-eye on some of Silva’s future plans either.

Soares admitted on Inside MMA that Silva would fight welterweight champion Georges St.Pierre if that’s what the fans wanted, but White has been less than keen on the idea, despite it being on many people’s ‘most wanted fights’ list.

“After seeing the Forrest Griffin fight (with Silva) – from the staredown to the fight…I think that Anderson Silva is too big for Georges St.Pierre,” White told MMA Connected in September of last year.

He also firmly stated in the same interview that he would not be interested in Silva fighting at heavyweight unless he “cleaned out” the UFC’s light-heavyweight division first.  If he sticks to that then it’s unlikely we’ll be seeing Silva versus Brock Lesnar, or any of the other heavyweight front-runners anytime soon.

Depending on results, cleaning out the light-heavyweight division may require Silva to fight the current champion Lyoto Machida, despite the two Brazilians being adamant that they will not do so as they are friends and training partners.

“Lyoto’s my friend. He’s my brother, and there’s no way that fight will happen,” Silva said at the UFC 101 post-fight press conference.

Dana White has other ideas.

“I’m so adamant that they will fight,” he has said publicly.  “I’m pretty confident I can make that happen.”

Only time will tell if that confidence is well founded, but to be fair he is a man who usually gets what he wants.  On this particular matter few would complain if he did, though some of his other thoughts on Silva’s future are likely to be less well received.

He is not holding all the aces in the deck though.  Anderson Silva’s contract will be up for renewal before long, and if is indeed considering signing a new five or six fight deal as Soares has suggested, then he may also be seeking assurances that he will get the fights that he has been calling for before making such a commitment.

It will be interesting to see how that plays out in the longer term, but of course before any of this becomes an issue Silva must first go back to the middleweight division he has ruled with an iron fist for the past three years to face Vitor Belfort at UFC 112 in Abu Dhabi.

That fight is expected to be officially announced this week, and Silva would be wise not to look too far ahead with such a dangerous opponent standing in his way.