Former Pride FC star and recently dethroned UFC light heavyweight champion Mauricio “Shogun” Rua knows his belt was taken by someone special.
Rua was defeated soundly by young dynamo Jon “Bones” Jones in a March title fight. All disappointment aside, “Shogun” recently spoke with ESPN.com about the loss and admitted that Jones — out of all of the top ten fighters he has faced — is likely the best competitor he’s ever squared off against.
And, like a true champion, Rua wants another crack at the 205-pound wunderkind.
“Yes, I think so,” Rua told ESPN.com when asked if Jones is the best he’s fought.
“After the Jon Jones fight I gave it a lot of thought, I reflected a lot, I thought about my training… everything. I came to some conclusions, but I don’t want to take anything away from Jones, he’s a good fighter. I have given it a lot of thought though because I hope to fight him again one day.”
Many doubt the 29-year-old Brazilian’s chances at ever regaining the belt or proving himself a top contender again, but “Shogun” is used to having doubters and pays them no mind.
“I’m used to that [lack of respect] already, ever since I started in MMA it has always happened,” he said. “I don’t really care, I’m used to that and I have to be focused. Those kind of things cannot hinder me, it’s part of the game.”
Rua will face Forrest Griffin — whom defeated “Shogun” in his UFC debut back in 2007 — this August 27 on the main card of UFC 134: Silva vs. Okami, which is to be held at the HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.