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Reunited with Longtime Coach, Shogun Prepared for War at UFC 134

Posted on by Erik Fontanez

Mauricio "Shogun" Rua

Mauricio "Shogun" Rua

COSTA MESA, Calif. – Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and Forrest Griffin are destined to dance a second time at UFC 134: Silva vs. Okami, an event also known as UFC: Rio due to its venue in Brazil.

The light heavyweights first faced each other in 2007 at UFC 76: Knockout. It ended with Griffin getting the submission win over an exhausted Shogun. MMA fans that followed him up to that point weren’t familiar with what they saw in the Octagon that night.

After the loss to Griffin – which also happened to be Rua’s UFC debut – many wondered if the fierce and ferocious “Shogun” they saw destroy opposition in Japan’s Pride Fighting Championships would have the same impact in the Las Vegas-based UFC as he did in the Far East.  His performance in his new surroundings was nothing more than underwhelming. It left doubt in the hearts of Pride loyalists, and even more so, casual fans that were just being introduced to the young Brazilian.

Rua’s debut under the UFC’s banner, although it was expected with Pride’s purchase by the UFC’s parent company, Zuffa, may have come sooner than what was appropriate.  Perhaps the eager 205-pound fighter should have waited a bit to allow a recent knee surgery to heal properly.

According to his head coach, Rafael Cordiero, the result of taking the fight when he did was a drop in the amount of time put in towards training for it.

“When he fought the first time with Forrest, he came from the (knee) surgery,” Cordiero told MMAWeekly.com.  “He didn’t train a lot for the first fight.  It’s no excuse, but now, what he’s going to do is different.  He (doesn’t) have any injury.  He’s ready for the fight.

“He going to offer Forrest one better fighter.”

Since dropping his debut to Griffin, this is the second time Rua has been under the tutelage of Cordiero.  A few months after the loss, he left the Chute Boxe Academy in Curitiba, Brazil, wherein Cordiero was coach, to open up his own school, Universidade da Luta – which in English means University of Fighting.

But to prepare for the second going with Griffin, Rua moved himself and his family to Southern California to train at Kings MMA with Cordiero.  The reunion of teacher and pupil has lasted for three months and made the former light heavyweight champion very happy.  The two will continue to prepare until Rua and Cordiero move camp back down to Brazil to adjust to the time change and environment for UFC 134.

“I have Master Rafael (back) together with me and he’s my MMA coach,” Rua said to MMAWeekly.com.  “I’m very happy because, for a long time, I haven’t had an MMA coach.

“I’m happy because I’m here, I’m focused 100 percent on my fight and I go back to Brazil next week.”

It may sound cliché, but Rua believes the rematch with Griffin will be entirely different than their first encounter.  At this point, Rua has much more Octagon experience than he did the last time.  Add on a UFC championship to the experienced gained and one can make the argument that it is, indeed, much different than it was the first time around.

As far as training goes, Rua is sparring with partners in Cordiero’s gym at near 100-percent speed.  The high level of preparation showed in the gym gives the image that injuries may not affect Shogun leading into his UFC 134 bout.

The 2005 Pride middleweight tournament champion doesn’t seem to be slowing down at all when anticipating his upcoming fight.

“I have respect for Forrest.  He’s a good fighter,” Rua said.  “I (fought him) first in the UFC.  (And) for me, everything was different because every time I (fought), it was in a ring. For me, it was very different.  Now, I’m ready for a fight (in the Octagon) and (in) this fight, I’m 100-percent.

“I’m ready for everything, whatever way I win, I’ll be very happy.”

As the days to fight night continue count down, Shogun is planning to avenge a loss that many picked him to win.  By returning to absorb the teachings of his old Chute Boxe coach, and gaining a renewed focus after losing his light heavyweight title to current champion Jon Jones, Rua is improving every day he is in the gym.  The training partners he works with have provided him with the tools necessary to prep his body for the bout.  The connection they all have is second to none and contributes to Rua’s motivation to perform well and be victorious on Aug. 27.

But while the physical part is covered by Rua’s sparring partners, the mental portion belongs to his coach, Cordiero.

“Every day, I see a different Shogun,” Cordiero said about his fighter.  “He (trains) with great motivation because he trains with his old partners for the fight.  It’s important he trains with guys (with which) he has a good connection.

“I want to prepare his mind for war.  The (training) partners help his body. I want prepare his mind for war.”


Got something to say? Weigh in with a thought of your own in the comments section below.


Erik Fontanez is a staff writer for MMAWeekly.com.
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@Erik_Fontanez on Twitter or e-mail Erik a question or comment.


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  • Unador

    I don’t see how Rua can lose this fight, except…. he’s already lost it once.
    This time he is supposed to be closer to 100% than 50% due to a lack of injuries. Forest on the other hand, even though I still think he’s outmatched here, should be fighting with a little bit of desperation. Forest really needs to start winning on a regular basis and resoundingly if he’s gonna stay in the UFC.
    That ‘should’ be the recipe for a great fight. Rua is an aggressor, Forest isn’t going to be able to play this one safe like he did against Franklin. So, I expect it to be violent.

    • afk

      griffin is 9/13 in the ufc and won his last two fights with a shoulder injury in between. he might not be the best fighter ever but i can hardly see how he’s inconsistent or on the verge of being cut.

      should be a good fight. only thing you weren’t ignorant about

      • Unador

        Really? you can’t see how he’s inconsistent?
        I think the ignorance is on the other foot.

        Forrest used to have the Belt at 205. Then a 185 pounder jumped weight and beat him like a child. Forrest really lost a lot of clout that day. He gave up, dramatically.
        Won his last two fights? sure, one of which was against Franklin, a guy on his way out, or should be, he needs to redifine himself.
        and the other win was Tito, bleh
        He has only fought 4 times in 2 1/2 years Since he lost the belt. And he lost 50% of those fights. So, how can you say he exhibited any skill in any of those 4 fights that legitimizes him being on the way up, as opposed to the way out?
        If he wasn’t such a likable guy, I think UFC would have dumped him already.
        Where do you see consistency?

        • afk

          anybody can create biased statistics by putting a time cut off on them. why say 2 and a half years?

          i never said he was amazing or his skills were legitimate, but he hasn’t been any worse on paper than any other 205ers in the last 2 years.

          sounds like you’re just a whinebag who loves to write rage essays. when he chokes out shogun again i wonder if you’ll be posting about how shogun has been inconsistent for dropping 3/4 last fights lol.

          • Unador

            nah, I said 2 and 1/2 years to be accurate. 3 yrs would have made it sound better but it would have been me rounding up.
            I used 2.5 years because that is when he was the champion. I understand what you mean about stats been portrayed biasedly to prove one point or another, but I was just responding to your stat of 13/9.
            And I agree, he hasn’t been worse on paper. But he was ‘worse’ in person. That’s my point That fight against Anderson Silva was the worst beat down I’ve seen since Anderson put it on Franklin, Twice! And it seems they had to shuffle Forrest out of the spot light for a while to gloss over that glaring phuch up. I mean he didn’t have a serious injury, they just didn’t schedule him any fights.
            It was embarrasing for Forrest to get beat like that. It was embarrasing for the UFC to have Forrest give up like that.
            They put Forrest against Anderson because they thought Forrest would bring it to him, because Forrest is game, he has heart. Noone expected his will to break on national tv in such an embarrasing and dramatic fashion.
            Whinebag? you mean windbag? and dude, I’m not raging.
            If he chokes out shogun again I will be surprised. I think Shogun will win, but I won’t devalue Forrest’s win if he does.
            Shogun is supposed to be in near 100% condition, no excuses if he loses this time.
            Plus I think he got robbed in Shogun vs Dragon I.

          • wonggfan

            Dude, you could argue all you want. Forrest hasn’t been a bum but he hasn’t been all that impressive either.

            When he beat Shogun and Rampage, we thought he would conquer the LHW division. Then he gets beat silly by Rashad, who then gets killed by Machida.

            Pretty much Forrest hasn’t been sucking but he definitely didn’t meet the hype the UFC nuthuggers created.

            The worst case of UFC hype was Gonzaga.

  • crow-killer

    war shogun!!!

  • wonggfan

    Shogun fan here. I have a feeling Shogun is not as good as people think he is. We are not sure if he can perform in the UFC. He lost to Forrest. Then he had a lack-luster performance against Coleman. Then he KOed Liddell who has been KOed by everyone. Then he beat Machida, who is stylistically the perfect match up for him.

    Forrest is also a question mark. He wasn’t even in the top 10 when he beat Shogun and Rampage (controversial?). Then he got destroyed by Evans and Silva. The destruction showed lack of chin. Then he eeked out shit decisions against Tito and Franklin.

    Both are question marks in my eyes.

    People put Shogun at #2 and Machida at #3….but I am not sure if there is a difference between Shogun.Machida and Evans, Rampage, or Forrest. After Jones, the skills levels might be more even than we think.

  • Mendel

    Unador – First of all Forest will most likely never be cut from the UFC Dana has said that he will always have a home there after him and the Stephan Bonner made the UFC more main stream in the The Ultimate Fighter 1 Finale.
    Also Silva comes up and beats him, well I see him owning all but Jones in that division tbh and even then my money would be on Silva pulling it out the bag somehow. In the Rashad fight he was winning until he got TKOed so not like he was “owned”. He has beaten Shogun, Rampage, Franklin and Tito not a bad resume.

    I personally don’t think he is great at any side of the sport but he is well rounded and has good cardio. As wongfan said the levels of all but Jones are a lot more evenly matched.