It’s not uncommon for fighters to refuse action against one another based on friendship or an alliance stemming from a shared training space. However, it’s fairly rare to run into a situation where one of the two athletes is a current champion who has mentored a peer since he was a teen. Regardless, such a scenario has unfolded in the case of UFC welterweights Georges St-Pierre and Rory MacDonald.

MacDonald, who has essentially grown up in the Octagon under GSP’s tutelage, is on the cusp of contending for a title but has been very vocal about his disinterest in duking it out with St-Pierre. Though UFC President Dana White understands where MacDonald is coming from, he believes deep down “Ares” wants to further his own career more so than worry about risking his relationship with St-Pierre.

“He basically lives in Georges St-Pierre’s house, meaning he trains there in his training facility. He lives in Montreal, Canada. Georges St-Pierre says nothing but good things about this guy. What’s he gonna do? Is he gonna run out in front of the whole world and beat his chest and say, ‘I want Georges St-Pierre’s title, and I’m going to take it from him’ and all this stuff? No, he’s not,” explained White during a recent interview with Inside MMA. “But if you don’t think he wants to fight Georges St-Pierre, if you don’t think he wants a shot at that 170-pound title, and if you don’t think he wants to be the world champion and make the kind of money that Georges St-Pierre makes, you’re crazy, my friend.”

MacDonald is 14-1 with twelve finishes and past wins over Nate Diaz, Mike Pyle, and B.J. Penn. The 23-year old Canadian is out to earn a potential title-shot tonight at UFC on FOX 8 where he fights Jake Ellenberger in the evening’s co-headliner.