Mauricio Rua recently decided to try and up his striking game, training with famed boxing coach Freddie Roach in the lead up to his much-anticipated rematch against Antonio Rogerio Nogueira at UFC 161.
But, when "Lil Nog" suffered an injury and Chael Sonnen was pegged as "Shogun's " next opponent at UFC Fight Night 26, mixed martial arts (MMA) fans knew the chances of seeing Rua's improved striking would likely have to come some other time.
And Sonnen made sure of that as the All-American wrestler made it a point to keep the Light Heavyweight match was played out on the ground before forcing the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt to tap to a guillotine choke in round one.
"Shogun" won't have to deal with an accomplished wrestler this weekend (Fri., Dec. 6, 2013) when he takes on James Te Huna at UFC Fight Night 33 in Brisbane, Australia, a 205-pound bout that's more than likely guaranteed to be contested on the feet.
And that's music to the former Chute Boxe member's ears (via MMA Fighting):
"I've been training in Sao Paulo for over a month, and I'll be training here for the rest of my camp. My camp has been great at Demian Maia's team. I expect a tough fight. He's a good fighter that likes to stand and bang. It will be a great fight, for sure. He like to use his hands and I like to use my muay thai, so it will be cool. I don't know if his style benefits me, but that's a match-up that I like more (than wrestlers) because he goes there to fight."
As far as a potential move down to Middleweight division in the future, Rua clarifies that it would ultimately be a team decision. Should the collective group come to the conclusion that it will benefit his career moving forward, then he'll go ahead with making the "tough cut."
"I haven't spoken with my team yet. If they believe it's a good move, I'll do it. It may be a tough decision and I need to think about this, but it's a possibility that I won't rule out. But it would be tough to cut to 185."
Indeed, a change of scenery might behoove "Shogun" moving forward, seeing as how the former 205-pound champion hasn't had much luck in the division he has called home his entire MMA career. In fact, he has dropped four of his last six bouts, including losing his world title to Jon Jones in 2011.
That's a far cry from the man once considered the best Light Heavyweight in the business.
Nonetheless, a decisive win over Te Huna would likely stall a move down to 185 pounds and get him back on the right track to potentially make one more run at the 205-pound title.