Maurício "Shogun" Rua is a former Pride FC middleweight champion (2005) and a previous holder of the UFC’s light-heavyweight title; UFC 113, 2010; Lyoto Machida.
He’s a fighter that prefers to stand and trade with his opponents, and as he recently demonstrated two weeks ago at UFN 33 in Brisbane, Australia, and as against James Te Huna, Rua has more than enough power to turn out any fighter’s lights.
However, where Shogun has shown moments of absolute brilliance in the UFC’s Octagon, he’s also and just as equally, looked outclassed; his last loss, that to Chael Sonnen at UFN 26 in August, being the best example of such.
At 6 & 6 in the senior circuit 205 pound class, Rua has stopped the likes of Chuck Liddell, Lyoto Machida and Forest Griffin, but has yet to put together a winning streak. And although he was able to take the division’s title, he was subsequently unable to defend it. Simply put, Shogun has been a hit-and-miss fighter at light-heavyweight and to the point that there have been rumblings of the Shogun dropping to middleweight, and seeing if he’d have better success in the lighter division.
To the point, Shogun himself has mused about the move to 185 and perhaps even more importantly, the UFC’s President has waxed about the idea, and as recently as Rua’s last fight. On the subject, Dana White pointedly stated that if Rua had lost to Te Huna earlier this month that he would’ve had “that conversation” with him; meaning retirement. More exactly, White stated that if Rua had lost to Te Huna that he would have been “interested in giving him a run at 185”, but apparently that would have been more of an ultimatum than an offer.
However, Shogun did win and he won big. As such, he’s breathed fresh life and confidence into his 205 career and from what Rua is saying past the Te Huna victory, he has no intention of moving to middleweight.
In speaking with MMAFighting.com,Maurício made his intentions known and it’s clear that he wants to stay at light-heavyweight. As Shogun put it”
"I’ll stay at 205, there’s no way (I can drop to 185). I spoke with my team after the fight and they said I shouldn’t, so I won’t. I’ll stay at 205.
The light-heavyweight division is the toughest division. I won two world titles in this division, so I’m adapted to it. My dream is to win the title again, but I’m only thinking about my next fight. I’m not thinking about the title now."
In terms of whom Shogun is anticipating as his next 205 challenge, it appears that Rua thinks it could well be the number five ranked fighter in the division, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira.
As Shogun put it, "Sure, it could be ‘Minotouro.’ He’s done great recently, so this fight could happen.”
In a compression of the two fighters, it’s a good match for both.
As with Shogun, Nogueira likes to stand and will probably be more than happy to give Rua the fight that he wants, which would be to stand and trade. However, and like Rua, he can fight on the ground should he elect or need to do so. All round and given the rankings, a match between the pair makes sense and taking into account that both fighters are healthy and currently un-booked, it seems that the duo could well be assigned to one another.
Further, it’s a fight that would give Nogueira a chance to avenge his 2005 Pride FC decision loss to Rua and that’s probably more than enough to get Minotouro to sign on.
All in all, fans shouldn’t be shocked to see this fight announced in the coming months.