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UFC 134: Forrest Griffin has to prove he's still relevant against 'Shogun' Rua in Brazil

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via <a href="http://www.graciemag.com/en/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/shogun-x-forrest-griffin.jpg">www.graciemag.com</a>
via www.graciemag.com

Hard to believe when we're talking about a man who was champion just three fights ago.

But that's exactly the case with Forrest Griffin, or at least he seems to think so. His upcoming fight at UFC 134 in Brazil isn't about a push into title contention or a step up the light heavyweight ladder.

It's only about keeping him relevant in the fight game. From the man himself (via Tatame):

"(This fight will be different from the last), obviously. I don't know how different. ... I need to prove that the first time wasn't a fluke. I need to prove that I'm still relevant."

He's not the only one with a whole lot to lose down in Rio de Janeiro. His opponent, Mauricio Rua, just lost the 205-pound title to Jon Jones on March 19.

Perhaps "lost" isn't the right term. It might be more succinct to say he was viciously beaten and had the strap ripped away from his mat-tapping hands.

There's also the matter of the first fight between these two, a Sept. 2007 victory for Griffin, who spoiled "Shogun's" Octagon debut and stole his spot as the top ranked light heavyweight in the world.

There were plenty of excuses bandied about for that fight, from Rua's bum knees to his poor conditioning to Griffin just plain getting lucky and being in the right place at the right time. 

On Aug. 27, the long-awaited rematch will answer all of these questions ... and more. Is Forrest still relevant? Will Shogun be when all is said and done? Was the first fight a fluke? Stay tuned.