Esther Lin for MMA Fighting
Just because you "like" someone, doesn't mean you can't knock them out or have them tapping for dear life...right? That's Mauricio Rua's mindset when he takes on Antonio Rogerio Nogueira in a rematch eight years in the making at UFC 161 on June 15, 2013.
Mixed martial arts (MMA) fans received a gift from Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) matchmakers earlier this week when Mauricio Rua and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira were booked to swing leather at UFC 161 on June 15, 2013 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, in a highly-anticipated rematch.
The two heavy-handed light heavyweights initially went toe-to-toe eight years ago in the quarterfinals of the 2005 Pride Middleweight Grand Prix, which saw both men have their moments and share of knockdowns in what was truly an epic and entertaining battle.
In the end, "Shogun" walked away the victor, earning a clean sweep on the judges' scorecards, a decision many felt could have easily gone the other way.
With a do-over against "Little Nog" on the horizon, Rua is sticking to the fighting style that made their first encounter a classic and says he will be looking for a knockout (KO) victory or submission, despite being fond of Rogerio as a person and an athlete.
Rua recently spoke to MMA Prime TV about the upcoming rematch:
"I'm very happy because every fan wants to see this fight. Rogerio is a good guy, I like him personally and for a fighter. I am very happy for this fight. Everybody knows my game, they know every time I want a knockout or submission. Every time, I want to finish the fight. I will stand up for a knockout or a submission; I fight every time for a finish. My big dream was to be champion of PRIDE and the UFC, now I have it. Now my dream is to win (against) Nogueira."
After defeating Nogueira in "The Land of the Rising Sun," Rua went on to defeat Alistair Overeem and Ricardo Arona on his way to capturing the grand prix title, becoming the youngest PRIDE champion ever.
"Shogun" then went on to capture the UFC's 205-pound title in 2010, realizing two of his dreams and with a rematch against "Little Nog" on the horizon, he looks to make one more dream become a reality by defeating his fellow countryman, yet again.
Anyone see that happening? Or will Nogueira get revenge on "Shogun" in what promises to be another thrilling affair?