The matchup on the August 27 UFC Rio/134 card will be a tie-breaker for Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, 29, a fighter who’s had his fair share of titles under his belt.
Yes, a tie-breaker. It would be mere comeuppance should he beat Forrest Griffin and avenge the loss he suffered on his octagon debut, but it would be a tie-breaker for being his seventh fight for the UFC, where he holds three wins and three losses, with a title belt mixed in there along the way – a trophy he carried for just ten months.
The overall balance is in the black, but he’s been underpeforming nevertheless. And Shogun knows it. “I was really upset with my performance against Jon Jones, I didn’t get a chance,” said the fighter summing things up in this month’s issue of “Piaui” magazine.
He attributed part of the reason for his failed outing to a lack of motivation in training, even despite the champion status he bore at the time. “I’ve won titles at Pride and the UFC, there was nothing greater than that to strive for,” says Shogun in the article penned by Fábio Fujita. “The biggest scar left by a fight is defeat, not the wounds,” he adds in the article.
Now, besides taking back his belt, Rua has at least two more reasons to get back to fighting the way he used to: first, to put on a good show for his compatriots, in Rio de Janeiro; second, to give back the rear-naked choke that took him out back in 2007, at UFC 76, at the tail end of a bout where he looked to be running on fumes – a knee injury had hampered him in training.
If things are going to be different this time around, his training methods need to change too. And Shogun knows it.
“I did a lot of grappling at Kings MMA with João Assis, a top-tier Jiu-Jitsu fighter. I’m really happy, motivated and confident,” he assured GRACIEMAG.com. “I am very fond of Rafael Cordeiro, the leader of the team here, and I’ve never hid that from anyone. The master knows a lot about my game and stimulates me to do what I know how to do. I fight MMA, and you know how it’s a very broad sport. I don’t think it will just be my ground game that makes the difference in this fight, but my kickboxing and wrestling will too.”
Forrest Griffin concerned if the fight goes to the ground, either. To GRACIEMAG.com, the star from the American state of Georgia holding a 20-win, 6-loss record confessed that the only thing he doesn’t do is put on a gi. Aside from that, he’s impassioned by Jiu-Jitsu and its use of leverage. “I do lots of Jiu-Jitsu with Drysdale in Las Vegas. I especially like leglocks. I’m not going to put on the gi to train for Shogun but I’ll be ready for him on the ground. I can’t say the fight will end the way it did the last time; I think we’ll probably end up duking it out on our feet, but you never know,” said Griffin.
What are your thoughts, loyal reader, what will be the outcome of this fight? Comment below and liven up the debate.