Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Light Heavyweight Champion Mauricio Rua has one last chance to prove he belongs at 205 pounds when he exchanges leather with James Te Huna at the upcoming UFC Fight Night 33 event, which goes down on Dec. 6, 2013 from Brisbane Entertainment Centre in Queensland, Australia, on FOX Sports 1.
It hurts to type those words.
Still, it's impossible to ignore the fact that "Shogun" is just 2-4 since coughing up his division title to Jon Jones in early 2011 and is coming off back-to-back losses to Chael Sonnen and Alexander Gustafsson, two former division number one contenders.
There has been talk about an eventual trip to middleweight, but based on this conversation, which is bolstered by a history of violent knockouts against fighters like Lyoto Machida and Forrest Griffin, Rua doesn't sound like he's in any big hurry to head south for the winter.
He may not have a choice, according to UFC President Dana White.
"This is a huge fight for both of these guys. Obviously for ‘Shogun' Rua, to be in this position right now fighting a guy like Te Huna, this is the fight of Te Huna's life! If Te Huna wins this fight, it catapults him into the top 10, everybody knows his name and everybody's going to want to see what's next for him. And yes, if ‘Shogun' loses this fight, I probably would have that (retirement) conversation with him. [Middleweight] is not a bad idea. If he lost this fight, I'd be interested in giving him a run at 185."
Judging by these rankings, it would be out of the frying pan and into the fire.
Naturally, any and all talk about Rua's future would be silenced by a career performance tomorrow night "Down Under." Te Huna may not be a household name, but he does have 13 finishes in 16 wins, 10 of which have come by knockout or technical knockout.
Beating the hometown hero would do more than just silence the Aussie crowd, it would keep "Shogun" afloat at 205 pounds. Unless you, as a fan, think he should make the drop, win or lose.
What say you?