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UFC 134 fight card: Shogun Rua out for revenge against Forrest Griffin in Brazil

Fighting is difficult enough. Constantly answering probing questions from unrelenting reporters looking for a scoop on a potentially bum knee just adds to the complication.

Yet, this is what Mauricio Rua has had to deal with in the weeks leading up to his UFC 134 rematch against Forrest Griffin tonight (Aug. 27, 2011) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

That's not to say there aren't legitimate concerns on the part of curious onlookers and interested parties. Rumors recently circulated that "Shogun" had re-injured his knee but would push forward with the fight anyway.

He's dismissed these claims as outrageous and went one step further by proclaiming he is 100-percent healthy and ready to exact revenge for a submission loss he suffered to Griffin back in Sept. 2007.

But it's worth noting that just before Rua lost the light heavyweight championship to Jon Jones in devastating fashion this past March, he underwent his third knee surgery of the past few years. This is a perpetually ailing prize fighter who has seen his reign at the top come crashing down with a swiftness and destruction that few have experienced before him.

Is he really fully recovered -- both physically and mentally -- for one of the biggest fights of his life? That remains to be seen, but he's not the only one with a potentially troublesome mentality heading into tonight.

Forrest Griffin has been in the fight game for almost a full decade. His style has always been predicated on punishment, as in, take some to give some. Admittedly enough, it's worked well for him, earning him a legion of supporters and fans that will likely never go away.

It's also earned him a light heavyweight championship, no matter how brief his time with the title was.

But all these years of fighting have taken their toll. He's admitted in recent blog posts that he hasn't enjoyed the job -- and that's exactly what this is for him, a job -- since 2008, which is when he won the 205-pound strap.

He also claims he's plateaued as a fighter ... and maybe even getting worse as he goes along throughout the waning stages of his career. He's only 32-years-old but he recognizes the signs of his inevitable decline.

His home life, though, is great and he feels as though in order to keep it that way, he needs to provide for his family because ultimately, deep down, that's what he is -- the provider. To do that, he must continue fighting because the money is so damn good.

Does that sound like a man who is ready to step inside a cage opposite one of the best fighters on the planet and leave with his head still intact?

Forrest says he's ready for whatever comes and as per usual, his all go, no quit attitude will carry him through, the same way it has for all these successful years.

Tonight we shall find out not just whose better physically but whose head is still screwed on tight.

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