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UFC 161: ‘Shogun’ Rua looks to relive championship glory days ahead of Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira rematch

Can Mauricio "Shogun" Rua recapture the glory days of his championship runs in PRIDE and UFC?

Esther Lin for MMA Fighting

Before current Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones took the 205-pound division by storm, Mauricio Rua was dominating the weight class in Japan competing for the now defunct PRIDE FC mixed martial arts (MMA) organization.

Thanks to his impressive Muay Thai technique and brutal soccer kicks, a then 21 year-old "Shogun" ran roughshod over his opponents beginning in 2003.

Among his accomplishments was a memorable run in the 2005 Pride Middleweight Grand Prix where he defeated Quinton Jackson, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, Alistair Overeem and Ricardo Arona in span of four months to become the youngest PRIDE champion ever.

During his time in PRIDE, Rua obtained a 12-1 record with his lone loss coming at the hands of Mark Coleman at PRIDE 31, thanks to a freak fall that shattered the Brazilian's arm.

After leaving "The Land of the Rising Sun" to make the transition over to UFC, Rua failed to impress in his Octagon debut, losing to Forrest Griffin at UFC 76 via submission. Undeterred, Rua went on to capture the light heavyweight title four fights later by knocking out Lyoto Machida at UFC 104, becoming the first and only man to hold both division titles in PRIDE and UFC.

It's those accomplishments and memories that are fueling Rua as he tries to recapture the glory he once had during his prime.

His words to Fighters Only:

"Remembering my glories is wonderful, makes me feel good, and gives me more will to live up to that again. It was an indescribable sensation; there are no words for it, especially because I got to achieve the dream of any fighter, which was to be both a UFC and PRIDE FC champion."

After losing his title to "Bones" at UFC 128 in 2011, Rua has been hot and cold, alternating wins and losses over his last four bouts with his most recent loss coming to Swedish sensation Alexander Gustafsson at UFC on FOX 5 last December.

His multiple knee surgeries didn't do Rua any favors when it came to his health, either.

And as he prepares to rematch "Lil' Nog" on June 15, 2013 at UFC 161 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, "Shogun" is looking to get some inspiration from his glory days in an attempt to live up to his dominating ways of yesteryear.

He seems to be making all the right moves, but will they equate into wins inside the Octagon and another run at the title? Or are "Shogun's" best days in the rear view mirror?

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