It was the most bitter of defeats.
Nearly seven months later, 2005 Pride Fighting Championships welterweight grand prix winner Mauricio “Shogun” Rua will get a second crack at light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida in the UFC 113 “Machida vs. Shogun 2” main event on May 8 at the Bell Centre in Montreal.
The 28-year-old Rua discussed his preparation for the hyped rematch, the controversial decision that resulted from his first encounter with Machida and the fast rise of light heavyweight contender Jon Jones in a recent interview with Sherdog.com.
Sherdog.com: With roughly a month left until your rematch with Lyoto Machida, how has training gone?
Shogun: I’m doing my best. The training is good. I’m very focused, and everything is going alright. I have many good fighters training here -- Glaube Feitosa, my brother, [Joao Paulo] “Tuba” [de Souza], Andre “Dida” [Amado]. We have good people and a solid structure. Everything is great.
Sherdog.com: Glaube Feitosa, one of Brazil's K-1 legends, is training with you. How did you get him into your gym?
Shogun: I have a friend who is a friend of Glaube’s, and one day while I was talking to him, I told him that I had watched his fights and was a fan of the guy. Then, coincidentally, he moved to Curitiba with his family. I had said a month earlier that I thought he was very good in muay Thai, and just after that, he came to live here. He is very humble, a very nice person and it seems like we’ve known each other for years.
Sherdog.com: Like Machida, he’s based in karate, but are their styles the same?
Shogun: No. If you watch Glaube and Machida fight, you will see that they have totally different styles; it’s another game. But guys like Glaube, Tuba and Jaoa Raphael “Simpson” are at a level of technical evolution where they are shaped according to the opponent. Joao Guilherme, too; he came from karate and can shape himself according to the Lyoto’s game. As I said in another interview, I hired seven karatekas for the first fight but only stayed with the Joao Guilherme. The people who train with me who can imitate Lyoto’s game are Tuba, Dida and JoÃ£o Guilherme, and they’re here at the academy. We know Lyoto’s game. We saw many of his fights, and they do exactly what he does.
Sherdog.com: You didn’t like the decision in your first fight with Lyoto. At several subsequent UFCs, controversies arose after what many perceived as judging errors. What do you think about that?
Shogun: That happened in my fight, but I see it as part of the past. I don’t think about it. I just think about doing my work and getting ready in there. I just think on May 8 that I have to come well-prepared, without thinking about whether the judges will favor him or me. Hopefully, if I win this fight and it goes to the judges, the judging will be much better.
Sherdog.com: What do you expect Machida to do differently in this next fight?
Shogun: Lyoto is a very eclectic guy who can change his game, but I’ll be prepared for all situations. Actually, I don’t care what he does, only about what I do. I like to train hard, so I worry about being prepared.
Sherdog.com: Jon Jones, who fights in your division, has impressed a lot of people in recent fights. What do you think of his game?
Shogun: He is a great young fighter, too damn good, and he’s coming with everything in our division. He is very good in wrestling. I think he and Cain Velasquez are the two guys with the best wrestling in MMA today, together with Georges St. Pierre. He’s a very good wrestler, very dangerous. He’s a guy who will give a lot of people trouble.
Sherdog.com: What’s next for your brother, Murilo “Ninja” Rua?
Shogun: Murilo is committed to Shine Fights on May 15. He will fight a week after me, so we’ll all be together. The gym has all its fights in May, so the workouts are good. We have a good crowd, all scheduled for fights. That’s good for everybody. God willing, Murilo will represent our country very well and our academy there in Shine.
Sherdog.com: What can fans expect from you in this next fight?
Shogun: You guys can be sure I’m ready. I’ve given everything in me to the training I do. You can expect that I will give my best to represent my country and my gym and to come back with this belt, which is a big dream. I want to thank the people who root for me. My fans are my greatest motivation.