Shogun Rua never had any real plans of moving to middleweight
Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua hasn’t experienced a lot of losses over a career that’s spanned nearly 12 years inside the cage, but avenging a defeat seems to be his specialty.
In the three career losses that Shogun has faced where he’s earned a rematch with the opponent, the results in the second fight have been drastically different than the first. Rua lost by injury to Mark Coleman and then came back to knockout the UFC Hall of Famer the second time. He was submitted by Forrest Griffin in his UFC debut, and put on a blistering performance in second fight winning by knockout in the first round. Shogun also lost a close, controversial decision to Lyoto Machida and then returned for the rematch and stomped his fellow Brazilian with a first round thrashing to win the UFC title in 2010.
So it would appear the odds are certainly on Shogun’s side as he heads into his rematch against Dan Henderson following their historic ‘Fight of the Year’ bout in 2011. Shogun can’t really put a finger on why it is he seems to perform so well in rematches, but given then fact that this will be the fourth time it will happen, he’s hoping for similar results as the first three.
"Actually, I really don’t know the reason for it," Shogun told FOX Sports when talking about his undefeated rematch streak. "Every time I go into a fight, my team are responsible for my training and everything involved so thank God so far it has worked this way. I am undefeated in rematches and I hope to keep it this way for a long time still. I really don’t know the reason why it’s happened this way, I just hope it keeps up!"
Much like his opponent this weekend in Brazil, Shogu is well aware that repeating the type of 25-minute war they experienced the last time is really impossible to anticipate. Of course since Shogun lost the decision when the final judges’ tallies were rendered, he has an even bigger investment in the second fight going in a much different direction.
All he can guarantee is that he will put on a show alongside Henderson, and hopefully this time he can get a finish to ensure the judges can take the night off.
"The first fight was a great fight, it was a very tough fight. We are two fighters who are aggressive, who are always looking to strike and looking for the knockout. I think that’s what makes the fight more interesting, and probably I could learn some things here and there from the first fight. It was five rounds, but in the end we are strikers and we are fighting to finish the fight and to win," Shogun said.
"My focus is on winning the fight, and I want to win any way I have to that’s possible. I want to finish the fight, obviously that’s always my goal, whether it’s by submission or knockout but if I goes to the judges hopefully the score the fight for me and see it in my favor."
Prior to his last trip to the Octagon, Shogun was at a bit of a career crossroads given his 2-4 record over six previous fights. The Brazilian legend was answering a lot of questions about retirement or maybe testing the waters at middleweight after spending the majority of his career fighting at 205 pounds.
We’ve never really had any serious discussions about that and my team never really wanted me to go down. So here we and it’s understandable, but it’s more speculation on the part of the media
— Shogun Rua on potential move to middleweight
While Shogun never completely shot down the prospect of moving down a weight class, he says the idea really came from the media more than from him or his own team. Shogun did his part to silence the critics when he smashed James Te Huna in the first round of their matchup last December, and it appears any thoughts of moving down a weight class after the fight with Henderson are just rumors that will probably never come true.
"No, that was actually more speculation from the media and from the fans back then," Shogun revealed. "I think this is really something really unique and personal that needs to be decided between myself and my team. If my team wants me to go down to 185, I’ll go down to 185.
"But as of now, we’ve never really had any serious discussions about that and my team never really wanted me to go down. So here we and it’s understandable, but it’s more speculation on the part of the media."
Shogun hopes to further cement his legacy and standing in the light heavyweight division by avenging his loss to Dan Henderson this weekend and proving he still has plenty of gas left in the tank for any fighter in the weight class.