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Sho-gunning for revenge: Mauricio Rua motivated to avenge loss to Forrest Griffin

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When Mauricio Rua finally made his Octagon debut at UFC 76 on Sept. 22, 2007, he was the baddest light heavyweight on Earth. Apparently, no one wanted to fight the PRIDE wrecking machine.

Except "the dog who just loves to fight."

Not only did Forrest Griffin want to step in the cage with the unstoppable force, he actually had the gall to think he could defeat him. And that's exactly what he did, disposing of the grand prix champion in the third round by way of rear-naked choke.

Of course, the debate was endless regarding how the Ultimate Fighter (TUF) winner had pulled it off. Most of it centered around the fact that "Shogun" was coming off knee surgery and his gas tank was completely rusted out and in need of an overhaul.

That may or may not be the case, but the fact of the matter is the records show a win for Griffin (which catapulted him into a title shot that he won) and a loss for Rua (who bounced back to eventually win that same title).

Now it's on down the line and the two are set to meet once more, this time on the Brazilian's home turf down in Rio de Janiero. As Rua tells Tatame, he's motivated to get back to the title but he also wants revenge for that submission loss in his UFC debut.

"My biggest motivation is that I'll fight Forrest Griffin, who's a top athlete, one of the bests. Of course I'll be another fighter for this bout, I'll do it all over again, that's my dream. Now we talk to each other, we are colleges... But he's a good fighter, he's a big name on the division, a strong guy, so he's a guy that, in case I win, it'll bring me closer to the belt. So that motivates me. Of course I want revenge, so that's my chance to revenge that loss, and that's an extra motivational factor. But I'll be focused because I need a win, not only because of the revenge I want. I want the win."

Rua will enter the cage coming off a shellacking at the hands of current light heavyweight kingpin Jon Jones back in New Jersey on March 19.

That defeat raised a lot of questions "Shogun" has faced before. Some felt he looked tired and weak compared to the monstrous "Bones," who tossed him around the cage before finishing him in the third round ... just like Griffin.

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 championship, Rua gets the chance to prove September 2007 is a date to be forgotten.

The former champion has also decided to make his home at Kings MMA with Rafael Cordeiro for this training camp. That's the same coach that led the famed Chute Boxe academy when Mauricio was piling up bodies over in Japan.

Will the "Shogun" get the revenge he so badly wants? Or is Forrest primed to pull the upset and shock the world once again?

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