Mauricio Rua held a 12-1 record going into his first match-up with Mark Coleman at Pride 31. He was fresh off of what could possibly be the greatest year in MMA history by any single fighter as he steamrolled through the Pride Middleweight Grand Prix. With wins over Quinton Jackson, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, Alistair Overeem and Ricardo Arona, there was no doubt in anyone’s mind that “Shogun” was the best Light Heavyweight in the world.
Then on February 22nd, 2006 it all came to a screeching halt when Rua attempted to move up to the Heavyweight division to fight Mark Coleman in a “grudge” match as the Chute Boxe camp had gotten into some disagreements with Coleman’s camp.
:49 seconds and a freak accident later, Rua dislocated his elbow which forced him to have surgery and put his career on hold.
Fast forward nearly two years later and Rua was completely outworked by current UFC Light Heavyweight champion, Forrest Griffin. We all found out later that Rua’s knee needed surgery, but he fought anyways.
It’s a completely different story now as Rua prepares for a re-match with Mark Coleman, the same Mark Coleman who briefly derailed his career. Rua’s ready now though as he recently told Tatame, “I think Coleman it’s a good opponent, and I’ll do my best.”
“I’m training hard Muay Thai, Jiu-Jitsu and Wrestling, and I have a new weight program. In my last fight [against Forrest Griffin] I [made] some mistakes in this detail, and I’ll be 100% prepared now, stronger than ever,” Rua continued.
This time it’s different though, Coleman is fighting at Light Heavyweight and Rua isn’t where he was two years ago. The question is, can he get back to the top? We’ll find out at UFC 93.