Former top ranked light heavyweight in the world and Pride 2005 Middleweight Grand Prix champion Mauricio “Shogun” Rua has the opportunity to add another piece of hardware to his trophy case when he takes on undefeated UFC light heavyweight titleholder Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida at UFC 104 on Oct. 24 in Los Angeles.
Machida’s style has baffled opponents, but Rua believes he has the game plan to defeat the precise and elusive 31-year-old champion.
“Lyoto’s a different guy, a different fighter than the other athletes. For most athletes that you face, you just need to train, adapt to little things and train as you regularly do and fight them because you’re used to what they bring to the table,” said Rua.
“Lyoto’s a different guy with the karate background and well adapted to mixed martial arts. It’s very tough to find him during the fight, to find the right distance because he has great timing, but I’m well prepared, for sure, with the right strategy,” added the 27-year-old contender.
“I’ve been preparing for four months straight about my game plan for this fight and I’m confident that I’m going to perform well.”
Arriving in the UFC, Rua faced an uphill battle coming off a long layoff from the Japanese Pride organization being purchased by Zuffa, the UFC’s parent company, and recovering from knee surgeries. style=”mso-spacerun: yes”> He insists his knee is fully healed and is no longer a factor in his performance.
“My knee feels 100-percent healed. Thank God. It’s been about one year and eight months since I had my last surgery. Now-a-days it
doesn’t bother me at all,” said Rua. “I feel 100-percent healthy and ready to fight.
“I expect to give my best performance in the Octagon, to fight to the best of my skills because this is the only thing that I tell myself. I’ve never promised or obligated myself to win a fight or score a knocking or something like that,” Rua told MMAWeekly.com.
“The only thing that I really demand and push myself to do is to go and do my best performance and do my best out there, don’t save
anything for later and just do my best. That’s what I expect to give a great performance because I feel very well prepared.”