With a win in his Octagon debut at UFC 76 in September, Mauricio "Shogun" Rua will earn the opportunity to challenge for the light heavyweight championship, according to recent statements from UFC President Dana White on SportsIllustrated.com.
Here's the snip:
"White says that if Shogun wins in September, he will get the next title shot at the UFC Light Heavyweight Title. That could lead to a rematch with [Quinton "Rampage"] Jackson, who Shogun obliterated in Japan."
Obliterated might be an understatement -- the beating that Shogun dished out in 2005 en route to the middleweight grand prix title was downright criminal.
Of course, Rampage is now the current 205-pound champion after he defeated Chuck Liddell at UFC 71 in May. He is set to face PRIDE FC middleweight and welterweight champion Dan Henderson at UFC 75 in London, England, on September 8.
We learned today that -- despite previous reports to the contrary -- the cross-promotional showdown is a non-title bout, which means that if Shogun wins, he gets Rampage whether he defeats Henderson or not?
All this hemming and hawing has got me befuddled to be quite honest.
Nonetheless, in the same article White mentions that he is "very interested" in PRIDE FC Heavyweight Champion Fedor Emelianenko and is "working on getting a deal done."
Part of that deal, it appears, may be an instant title shot against either current champion Randy Couture or Gabriel Gonzaga -- the two are set to clash at UFC 74 in August.
Here's another snip:
"Part of the difficulty for him is Fedor's management team. White says that he has 'no idea what these crazy Russians are going to do.' White will give Fedor an immediate title shot if and when he is brought in."
If and when? That sounds imminent.
Clearly, the signing of Fedor would be a boon for the UFC and its fans. However, some might be uneasy about a fighter coming in from another organization and leapfrogging Octagon veterans who have been working their way up the ladder.
But that goes to show how talented Fedor and Shogun are -- these two are arguably the top fighters in their divisions in the sport today.