UFC Light Heavyweight Champion and PRIDE FC veteran Mauricio “Shogun” Rua is currently out of action rehabbing yet another knee injury, this one keeping him out of the Octagon until February at the earliest. Regardless, the champ already has his next opponent lined out for him in former champ Rashad Evans and, as he told Tatame.com, he is keeping that threat foremost on his mind.
“Rashad is a great fighter, has a good boxing and wrestling,” Rua said. “On my weight class there’re only tough guys, so it’ll be like any other… I really don’t know if it’ll be him and I don’t know the date, but I believe it’ll be against him.”
With a fighter of Evans’ caliber on his horizon, “Shogun” told Tatame that he cannot spend time thinking about the rising crop of 205-pound contenders; a crop containing promising young fighters like Ryan Bader or the highly-touted Jon Jones.
“Yeah, this is one of the most disputed divisions, since Pride, years ago…,” said “Shogun”. “And it’s good to have all these guys here, but I can’t keep thinking about the second and the third guys on the line… I’ll have a tough fight with Rashad and it’d be disrespectful to think about Jon Jones, Ryan Bader when I’ll fight Rashad … I’ll give my best and I’ll be focused for my next fight, not on the second and third to go.”
“Shogun” assured that his recovery is going well and that he has returned to light technique training, with full contact training being put on hold until December. The former PRIDE champion told Tatame that he is hoping to be prepared to fight in either March or February, pending the progress of his recovery.