August 4, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Shogun Rua during UFC on FOX at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE
It seems turning down fights is all the rage these days in mixed martial arts (MMA).
First, Jon Jones decides a bout at UFC 151 against an 185-pound fighter, Chael Sonnen, wasn't the best thing to do for his career after Dan Henderson came down with an injury. Then, Lyoto Machida's camp gave its reason for declining a title fight against "Bones" much earlier than anticipated after "The Dragon" felt he needed more than 31 days to prepare for a man who choked him out nine months earlier at UFC 140.
Now, Mauricio Rua's manager, Julio Heller, tells Brazilian news outlet, Tatame, that his client needed at least 60 days to prepare for a bout with the current light heavyweight champion, too. "Shogun" lost his 205-pound title to the Jackson-Winkeljohn-trained fighter back at UFC 128, which began the young champion's impressive run through the division.
Obviously, wanting a better showing against Jones, the Rua camp wanted to make sure Mauricio would be in tip-top shape in the rematch.
Check out Heller's comments after the jump:
"We were in Sao Paulo and my phone rang about midnight. It was Lorenzo's (Lorenzo Fertitta is a partner in the UFC). Lorenzo was on another call, so I talked to him like half hour later. He offered me a rematch against Jon Jones because Lyoto had declined it and asked me to give him an answer in ten minutes. I hung up and Mauricio was there with me. We talked and called Dida in Curitiba and we got to a conclusion we should accept the rematch, but only if Shogun had a couple of months to train and it would mean a fight later in October or in November. I said that to Lorenzo but he said there was no time because Jon Jones's fight is on September 22nd. Unfortunately, he couldn't give us this time but he understood. Mauricio accepted at the time the new fight against Jon Jones. The ideal is a three-month camp but he said yes to a two-month camp fight. He wants to fight Jon Jones and it sucks it won't happen now. But Mauricio's shot will come."
It's all probably for the best, too, seeing as how the former 2005 PRIDE Grand Prix winner didn't look to be in the best of shape during his four round war with Brandon Vera back on Aug. 4, 2012 at UFC on Fox 4. Though, many would attribute Rua's cardio issues to his aggressive head-hunting style, not his lack of preparation.
Not to mention Rua was slapped with a 45-day medical suspension by the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) to heal from the bumps and bruises he received courtesy of "The Truth" in the "City of Angels."
Regardless of the reason, it would favor Rua to be in the best fighting shape possible should he be granted another title shot against "Bones" down the road. Before he can look forward to that, he has to get past Alexander Gustafsson at UFC on Fox 5 come Dec. 8, 2012.
Meanwhile, Vitor Belfort -- a beefed up Middleweight -- answered the call to battle Jones at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on Sept. 22, 2012, when two former division champions did not.
Something is still not right with this picture.