Recently Daniel Cormier raised some eyebrows by relaying he’d be down to fight “Shogun” Rua, before the two champ hangs up the gloves next spring. So, could Rua really get another shot at the light-heavyweight title he once held? If he’s victorious at UFC FN 134?
Cormier took another step up the greatest of all time ranks last weekend at UFC 226, by taking out Stipe Miocic to win the heavyweight title. With the victory, Cormier became just the second fighter in UFC history to hold two titles concurrently.
Well, since Cormier’s epic victory, there’s been a lot of discussion about whether he will defend the light-heavyweight crown, one more time. Cormier has repeatedly said that he doesn’t plan to fight after he turns 40 next March, and we already know he’s going to defend the heavyweight belt against Brock Lesnar in early 2019.
Since UFC 226 went down, Cormier has said he’s interested in defending the 205 title, provided someone in that weight division does something “special”. Those comments, however, were more so directed towards perennial contender, Alexander Gustafsson. Recently Cormier said that he’d be down to fight the “living legend” Rua, who is set to fight Anthony Smith, July 22nd in Hamburg.
Well, after Cormier made those comments, Rua was asked to respond, and the former champ said this (quotes via MMA Fighting):
”I think Cormier is a great athlete, a compete fighter,” Rua said. “Winning this fight I absolutely deserve this chance because of my history and my career in MMA.”
“…“But I’m actually not thinking about the belt now because I have a good opponent ahead of me and I can’t think about it. The belt is my dream, of course, but I have to go step by step. I know that I will be closer if I win this fight.”
Now, there’s likely a lot of old school fans here who are in agreement with Rua. If he defeats Smith, “Shogun” will have won four straight, and there’s no denying that he’s one of the greatest fighters to ever come out of Brazil. But, would the UFC really go this route?
It would be pretty surprising if the promotion did, before “DC” fights Lesnar. Yes, even if Cormier campaigns hard for the fight.
On one hand, Cormier would be a heavy favorite to win on account of his wrestling . But, would the UFC really want to run the risk of Cormier losing to the #8 ranked Rua? As they get set to promote his bout with Lesnar? Or, run the risk that Cormier gets injured?
Further, if Gustafsson goes out and scores an emphatic victory over Volkan Oezdemir at UFC 227, August 4th, his case for a rematch with Cormier will be a strong as ever.
But, you never know. After all, Lesnar is going to challenge for the heavyweight title, and he’s 0-2 with 1 no-contest, and a USADA suspension, since 2010.