Forrest Griffin is in the final stages of preparation before going to war for the second time against Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua.
After defeating the Brazilian by third round submission in September 2007 at UFC 76, Griffin will face the former-Chute Boxe superstar in Shogun’s native Brazil in the co-headliner of UFC 134.
After beating Shogun, people across the world of MMA believed Shogun’s string of injuries and layoffs affected the outcome. Shogun seemed exhausted in the first round, and trying to catch up for the remainder of the bout, Griffin proved too much in the final frame. The victory went on to propel him to a title fight with Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson, where he again shocked the world and captured the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship.
Regarding the controversy surrounding the first fight with Shogun, and also when asked if whether or not he felt the need to prove the victory at UFC 76 was no fluke, Griffin replied, “There’s no pressure to prove anything in the rematch… At least not to me.”
When asked about Shogun at times seeming like two different fighters, Forrest felt that it was difficult to tell who he’ll see across the cage come fight night. He admitted he hopes another Shogun comes to Rio than the man that knocked out Lyoto Machida and Chuck Liddell in the first round.
Griffin also drew parallels toward him fighting in Brazil early into his career and now returning for UFC 134.
“The stakes are a lot higher now, and I was fighting at heavyweight in front of three or four thousand people,” admitted Griffin. “So it was a little different. It’s tougher now.”
The first fight between these former champions has been a hot-button topic since it took place. This will not only put the winner in great proximity for a title fight, but it will settle issues surrounding the first bout. Another aspect of his matchup is that despite their styles being very different, there are many comparisons to be drawn between Griffin and Rua.
Both men are fan favorites in the sport. At an early age, Shogun wowed Japanese crowds and Pride fans with one of the most impressive runs in MMA history. Griffin came into his own before our very eyes when he won the first season of the Ultimate Fighter reality show, and he is known for putting MMA on the mainstream map with his barn-burner against Stephan Bonnar at the TUF Finale. Shogun’s accolades and killer instinct has appealed to hardcore fans for years, while Griffin remains a favorite to the casual crowd for his candor and never-die attitude in the Octagon.