Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is coming to the HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro for its upcoming pay-per-view fight card on August 27, 2011, which means it needs as many Brazilian fighters as it can muster up for the return to "Rio."
Rua gonna call?
Not coincidentally, former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Mauricio Rua is targeting a late summer return in order to maintain the "rhythm" UFC President Dana White believes the former PRIDE star needs to keep in order to be effective.
"Shogun" was recently dethroned by surging 205-pound phenom Jon Jones at last month's UFC 128 event in Newark, NJ, getting manhandled and pounded into defeat in their main event title fight back on March 19.
Rua's trainer, Eduardo Alonso, tells FightHype.com that his star student is unharmed and already back in the gym preparing for an August return:
"We are already talking to the UFC about his next fight. They are really very supportive of us and after the bout, Dana came into the locker room to show support and said he felt rhythm was important for Shogun, so whenever I was ready, I should call him cause they wanted him to fight soon again. I agree with him, and we hope to have Shogun back around August. A lot of people sent me messages asking if Shogun got hurt, but thankfully Mauricio didn't get hurt at all. After the fight, I took him to the hospital for exams and all was fine. He just had some swelling around his eyes and nothing else. He is training lightly again already."
"Shogun" fans were disappointed at the Brazilian's listless performance against "Bones," which hearkened back to his stinker against Mark Coleman at UFC 93 in 2009.
While many pundits cited his recent knee surgery as the possible culprit, the Rua camp believes it was his opponent's first round knee and head kick combination that robbed him of his stamina and marked the beginning of the end.
Will the former champ come back stronger? Or continue to fall victim to the "new school" of MMA? And if you're UFC matchmaker Joe Silva, who do you pair him against?
Sound off, Maniacs.