8 Questions for Mauricio 'Shogun' Rua

By Gleidson Venga Jan 7, 2010
The Oct. 24 UFC light heavyweight title bout between challenger Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and champion Lyoto Machida ended in a much-debated decision for Machida. Both men will look to settle the controversy May 1 in Montreal, where their rematch is expected to headline UFC 113 at the Bell Centre.

Sherdog.com recently spoke with Rua, who reviewed his year and discussed the upcoming rematch.

Sherdog.com: In 2009 you came back to fighting after a year and a half recovering from an injury, and you fought for the UFC title. How do you rate this year in your career?
Rua: I think it was a good year. I achieved my goals. Unfortunately I didn’t win the belt, but I was happy with my performance, and besides, I have a new chance for the title in 2010. So I'm tranquil and I'm done with the goals that I outlined in 2009.

Sherdog.com: If you compare your fight against Mark Coleman, your first after the surgery, and the fight against Lyoto Machida, your third fight in the year, how do you see your evolution?
Rua: I went back to my rhythm. Another difference is that today I am a guy ready to fight in the Octagon. Against Coleman I was not. I didn’t have an Octagon in my gym; I trained in a ring. Today I am more ready to fight in an Octagon than a ring.

Sherdog.com: What is your expectation for the rematch with Machida?
Rua: I am confident. My expectations are good. I'm happy to fight again with him, not because I think I won the first match but to have a new opportunity to fight for the belt. My big dream is to win the belt, so I want that fight again because it is a fight for the belt.

Sherdog.com: Before the fight with Machida, much was said about his game, Machida Karate, which was very difficult to nullify. Who helped you with your strategy?
Rua: The whole team. There were about eight people, and all got together and each one gave his opinion, then we discussed it to achieve the best possible strategy. There were many people engaged in this work.

Sherdog.com: You changed a lot of your game and your training for that fight?
Rua: We did in fact devise a strategy, but I can’t change a lot of my game because I’ve fought this way for 10 years, so I cannot totally change my game just because of Machida. Thank God I could annul his game, but unfortunately I could not win the belt. Now I have a new battle ahead, and I will make a new strategy.

Sherdog.com: When do you begin to train for the rematch?
Rua: I have been training lightly, but I'll start training hard about three months before the fight. I'm in very basic training, but in February I’ll already be training harder. We have a very solid team to get ready to fight.

Sherdog.com: You fight in a very tough weight division. How do you assess the challenges you will have to face?
Rua: I believe that this category is the most competitive in the world. It always was. I know you will never have a breeze, and as I fight in the UFC, which is the biggest event in the world, I know I'll always face tough guys and can’t expect to have easy bouts. I know that and I will always expect to face the top fighters of the division.

Sherdog.com: You've always been a big star in Brazil and Japan. What is the reception of the American public since you were hired by the UFC?
Rua: For us fighters, nothing is better than having our work recognized and having the affection of fans. In the U.S., Japan, Canada, etc., people have a greater commitment to the fighters, and I'm happy for that. That affection of the fans is another motivation for us to train hard and fight.
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