It has been an up-and-down 2011 for Mauricio “Shogun” Rua.
After winning the UFC light heavyweight title in 2010, Rua (20-5) was sidelined for several months due to an injury.
Finally, in March of this year, Rua defended his title against Jon Jones, falling to the youngster by third round TKO.
But, in his native country of Brazil this past Saturday, Rua got right back on the horse, defeating Forrest Griffin in the first round by knockout.
Now, the former PRIDE middleweight grand prix champion feels he is on the cusp of fighting for the UFC title once again, and he would like nothing more than a rematch with Jones to try and avenge the loss.
“I’ve only had five losses,” Rua said. “I’ve managed to avenge all of them except Jon Jones and (Renato “Babalu” Sobral). ‘Babaul’ is my friend, and he’s on my team, so I wouldn’t think of doing that. The only guy left then is Jon Jones.”
“Shogun” has won rematches now with Griffin, Mark Coleman and Lyoto Machida to avenge defeats. The Machida win gave him his first UFC championship.
For that to happen, Jones will first have to get past Quinton “Rampage” Jackson when they meet next month, and Rua will have to remain in line, as Rashad Evans holds the current No. 1 contender spot.
“(That) was a big win for him,” UFC President Dana White said. “The guy just lost the title to Jon Jones, who many people believe – I’ve got Jon Jones ranked No. 3 pound-for-pound in the word. (He) beats Forrest Griffin, who’s one of the top light heavyweights in the world. It put ‘Shogun’ right back in the title hunt.”
It seemed a vintage Rua – prior to several knee injuries and many months of rehab – as he took care of Griffin in less than two minutes, showcasing his excellent stand-up game.
As for the current champ “Bones,” Rua has plenty of admiration for him.
“Jones is a very (skilled) guy, at the top of the division,” Rua said. “He’s a guy who deserves a lot of respect, because he fights well.”