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UFC Fight Night 26's ‘Shogun’ Rua says level of competition reason for ‘inconsistency’

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Shot knees and cardio issues aren’t the reason Mauricio Rua has failed to pick up back-to-back wins since 2009. It’s the fact that he’s faced all the top guys since the beginning of his career that’s at fault for his inconsistency. "Shogun" explains below.

Esther Lin for MMA Fighting

Once regarded as the best light heavyweight mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter on the planet, Mauricio Rua has seen better days inside the cage.

Since making his Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) debut in 2007 against Forrest Griffin, "Shogun" has racked up a mediocre record of 5-5 inside the Octagon, which includes his third-round submission loss to The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) season one winner at UFC 76.

And while he did manage to win the 205-pound title in 2010, knocking out Lyoto Machida at UFC 113, Rua has alternated wins and losses ever since, including a title loss to Jon Jones at UFC 128 before coming up short on the judges' scorecards to Dan Henderson and Alexander Gustafsson.

Most have attributed his inconsistency to a lack of cardio, while others have blamed it on his aging knees, which have gone under the knife on more than one occasion.

Rua, however, dismisses any of those excuses and says the main reason he hasn't managed to collect consecutive wins since 2009 is due to the high level of competition he faces each time out.

Something he's done all of his career, as he recently declared during the UFC Fight Night 26 press conference.

"I think part of that is because I'm always fighting the best in the world. Since the start of my career I have always fought and faced the top guys. And I always train to do my best and always look for the victory."

"Shogun" ran roughshod over the competition during his time competing for PRIDE Fighting Championships, becoming the youngest to ever win a Grand Prix title for the Japan-based promotion in 2005 at the age of 23.

Wins over the likes of Alistair Overeem (twice), Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, Chuck Liddell and Quinton Jackson have cemented Mauricio's place as one of the all-time great light heavyweights, but it's the losses that have taken some steam out of the Brazilian as of late.

Rua hopes to get back into the win column this weekend (Aug. 17, 2013) when he takes on Chael Sonnen in the main event of UFC Fight Night 26 -- which is now available to everyone on Fox Sports 1 -- at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.

And if history stays true to form, things are looking good for "Shogun" to pick up a victory in "Beantown." Unless, of course, Sonnen can break up Rua's win/loss pattern.