Mauricio "Shogun" Rua celebrates his first round knockout victory over Forrest Griffin at UFC 134: "Rio" on Aug. 27, 2011. Photo by - Al Bello/Zuffa LLC
After his brutal and epic back-and-forth brawl that has been labeled by many as the 2011 "Fight of the Year" with Dan Henderson at UFC 139 on Nov. 19, 2011, Mauricio Rua has been as quiet as a Christmas mouse.
Presumably, the former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) light heavyweight champion has been taking some time to himself to heal and reflect on the tough loss, which saw "Shogun" bruised and battered worse than he ever had throughout his nine years of competing in mixed martial arts (MMA).
Henderson landed one "H-Bomb" after another, punches that would have ended many fighters. However, the tough Brazilian showed his heart and endurance, recovering and even almost ending the fight himself an a couple of occasions, only to come up on the short end of the judge's decision.
With the win, Henderson positioned himself as a top contender for the UFC's 205-pound title, which is currently held by Jon Jones. He might challenge "Bones" in 2012; however, he will likely have to wait and see the outcome of the main event of UFC on Fox 2 on Jan. 28, 2012, between Rashad Evans and Phil Davis.
Rua, on the other hand, will now have the tough task of trying to climb to the top of the ladder once again after his loss at UFC 139. Speaking to Tatame.com, the 2005 PRIDE Grand Prix champion says he is already back to training and hopes to have a fight lined up as soon as next week.
Check it out:
"The expectations are good and I'm already training. I hope I get better soon so I can fight for my fans, family and team. Actually, now I'm taking it slow, just training. I don't know when I'm fighting. Next week I might make some deal, but for now I don't know anything about it, so I'm taking it easy. When I know it for sure, I can set a plan and work on it. This is the most disputed weight class, and I don't have an opponent yet because it's too messy right now. I guess Dan Henderson is getting a title shot and I have no idea of who I'm fighting against. I want to get ready for my next fight. I'm sure it'll be a tough guy because there're only tough guys on the division. I'll keep training to fight the best."
Once hailed as the top 205-pound fighter in the world, Rua has gone 3-3 in his last six fights under the Zuffa umbrella, with a short lived title run sandwiched between.
With the UFC's light heavyweight division crowded with plenty of tough challengers, "Shogun" will undoubtedly have his work cut out for him should he ever earn the opportunity to compete for the title again.
Rich Franklin, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and Tito Ortiz are a few veterans currently without opponents. In addition, there is a young up-and-comer like Alexander Gustafsson, as well as an upcoming UFC on FUEL TV 2 event in his native Sweden, who is also looking for his next fight ... and a main event.