Shogun Rua: My knees were, and are, 100-percent ready

"Shogun" fans who knee-ded to make excuses for the Brazilian's lopsided defeat to Jon Jones at UFC 128 last March just lost a good part of their argument.

That's because former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Mauricio Rua tells ESPN.com that his knees were, and are, 100-percent ready.

They were ready in his title defense against "Bones," and they'll be ready in his UFC 134 rematch against Forrest Griffin next week in "Rio."

As Rua explains, in his own words, "one guy is going to win, one guy is going to lose," and he's working hard to correct the mistakes he made in the "Garden State" earlier this year.

"Some people think I was out of shape and are worried about my knees still being hurt after I had so much trouble with them. That isn’t the case -- there’s nothing wrong with my knees, and they were 100 percent ready for (the Jones) fight, as it was all cleared by the doctor. We made the biggest effort in doing my rehab as perfectly as possible and the UFC was kind enough to let me come back on a date that was proper to do it, according to the doctors. I have no injury excuses. As a professional fighter, you always have some injuries, even if they are minor. It's impossible, or very rare, to go through a camp without any pain. Right now I'm 100 percent, without any injuries and ready to go, but we always have to work around pain and work around injuries, and as a fighter you are always trying to make the best of it."

On top of wanting to erase any doubts that he's still an elite 205-pound fighter, not to mention make his way back to the division championship, Rua gets the chance to prove that September 22, 2007, is a date to be forgotten.

That's when he made his highly-anticipated Octagon debut at UFC 76 -- only to be choked out by Forrest Griffin in front of a shocked crowd in Anaheim, California.

PRIDE fans, who expected a one-sided beatdown from the former champion, blamed his previous knee surgery and extended layoff for the defeat.

Now Shogun is back and injury (and excuse) free. Can he fight his way back up the 205-pound ladder? Or will Griffin send him tumbling down the rankings for good?

How do you see this fight unfolding?

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