Former UFC light heavyweight champion Mauricio “Shogun” Rua looks to avenge perhaps the greatest loss of his storied UFC career when he rematches fellow former Pride champion Dan Henderson in the main event of this Sunday night’s (March 23, 2014) UFC Fight Night 38 from Natal, Brazil.
The two notorious sluggers threw down in a five round war at UFC 139 in November 2011 that will undoubtedly go down as one of the greatest mixed martial arts bouts ever contested. For his part, “Shogun” is gracious that the fans and media have given their first fight its due. However, he also believes it’s time to focus on the present:
“I get very happy to know that my fight with him is going down in the history books, written as one of the best ever. It’s a rewarding feeling. But I don’t really think of it any other way. It’s just satisfying to know that we did something that people acknowledge and that was great, But we have to move on.” – via MMAJunkie.com
Rua’s thankful point of view will soon turn to a sharpened focus on this weekend’s main event. The No. 7-ranked Muay Thai practitioner recently said that he plans to knock Henderson out in the first round, but with “Hendo” known for his thunderous knockout power as well, he’s also willing to take the victory any way it presents itself:
“It’s a different fight. Obviously, I have big respect for Dan Henderson. He’s a guy that hits hard and can do some damage. You’ve got to respect him. But I’m happy to have this chance because … I like challenges. Any way that I can come out with a win, I’m happy. Obviously, if I can win a fight that also pleases the fans, I’m even happier. But I’ll take the win any way I can get it.”
The normally iron-chinned “Hendo” suffered his first-ever knockout loss to Vitor Belfort at last November’s UFC Fight Night 32, but “The Phenom” has since been forced to stop using his vaunted testosterone-replacement (TRT).
Henderson, the first documented fighter to apply for and receive an exemption to use TRT for an MMA match, had already got the ball rolling on his exemption to fight “Shogun,” before the ban was passed, so he’ll be the last fighter to go into a big fight on the controversial therapy.
Still, most people are giving the younger Rua the advantage the second time around. Will “Shogun” send the 43-year-old Henderson to an unheard-of fourth straight loss (and possibly retirement) this Sunday?