In a new article by Brazilian periodical website, Gazeta Do Povo, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua discusses his recent loss to Forrest Griffin at UFC 76. Rua, previously ranked as the number one Light Heavyweight fighter in the world, was expected to easily run over Forrest Griffin. Instead, the TUF alumni dominated Mauricio for most of the fight, and even managed to end the bout with a mediocre rear naked choke that forced Shogun to tap. A dejected Shogun states, “I was extremely sad. That was the worst defeat of my career.”
Fans of Shogun, who have witnessed him fight before, are well aware of his ability to fight continuously at an extremely high pace. Those who watched UFC 76 saw a much different Shogun who moved a lot slower, was more sluggish, and worst of all, was almost completely gassed by the end of round one. Rua admits to Gazeta Do Povo that his game plan was to keep the fight on his feet, but after the first round, he was so exhausted that he wanted to take the fight to the ground with hopes of gaining top position. Shogun confesses, “I had never been as tired as I was during this fight.”
In the article, Shogun cites a knee ligament injury as one the reasons why he couldn’t train properly for this fight. Injury or not, Shogun also says that he is not looking to make any excuses, and takes full responsibility for simply not training enough for this fight.
Upon losing to Forrest Griffin, fans have been speculating whether Shogun should fight Keith Jardine or Chuck Liddell next. Sorry, but those hoping to see Shogun back in action soon may be a little disappointed. Mauricio has disclosed to Gazeta Do Povo that he has talked it over with Master Rudimar Fedrigo, and he’ll be going under the knife this Friday to repair the knee ligament injury. The operation will take some time to heal so Shogun doesn’t expect to back in training at the Chute Boxe Academy until late January or early February.
As for his loyal fans, Shogun has a message:
“I’ve learned my lesson from this and I will train to come back stronger than ever. My goal is the belt, the fight continues.”
The injury nixes a rumored match between Rua and Chuck Liddell at UFC 79. With other top light heavyweights Forrest Griffin and current champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson will unable to compete until early 2008 the division is suddenly lacking many quality matchups though Liddell, Wanderlei Silva, Houston Alexander and Lyoto Machida could all be used in a combination of quality bouts for the December card.