For fans of Mauricio Rua, Saturday night's loss to Jon Jones in the main event of UFC 128 in Newark, NJ, was a bitter pill to swallow.
But we've been here before.
"Shogun" made his first appearance inside the Octagon against Forrest Griffin back in September 2007, fresh of a knockout win over Alistair Overeem at PRIDE 33. And despite all the hype surrounding his UFC debut, the Brazilian went belly up (or belly down in this case) and got choked out by the former "Ultimate Fighter."
Those kinds of things can happen when you compete with a bum knee and a rusty tank.
His technical knockout loss to "Bones" on March 19 came after surgery to repair his oft-injured knee (and a knockout of former division champion Lyoto Machida). But Rua refused to make any excuses for his debut loss and the Shogun camp won't make any this time either.
All things considered, there are a lot of parallels between the Griffin defeat and his loss to Jones. So does that mean he'll be back to form in his next appearance?
Manager Eduardo Alonso certainly thinks so in his post on PVT:
"There are no excuses! Now what remains is to work hard and begin our way back to the top. For those who find means to criticize the posture of our team for statements made to the press, Jon Jones looked for me on Sunday night in the hotel hall to apologize for his behavior in the press, that it was part of the pre-fight plan and he emphasized his admiration for Shogun. Let’s get back to work. Shogun made it before and will do it again."
The former light heavyweight champion was criticized for training strictly in his own gym at Universidade da Luta [UDL] in Brazil and that perhaps it was the wrong strategy for such a high-profile and dynamic athlete like Jones.
But as we're starting to find out, it may not matter where you train or who you train with because it doesn't seem like anyone can solve the riddle of the 23-year-old phenom.
In the meantime, Shogun has a long road of him in his journey to get back to the top of the 205-pound division. Can he come back stronger? And if you're UFC matchmaker Joe Silva, who do you pair him with upon his return?
Opinions, Maniacs. Let's hear what you've got.