by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
Today the UFC officially announced the match-up that will feature the debut of MMAWeekly’s current #1-ranked light heavyweight fighter, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, as he takes on Ultimate Fighter 1 winner Forrest Griffin at UFC 76 on September 22nd.
Originally, UFC President Dana White said on ESPNews’ afternoon show “The Hot List” that Shogun would make his UFC debut against fellow Brazilian heavy hitter, Lyoto Machida, but this is the official news that Shogun will now take on Griffin instead.
Mauricio “Shogun” Rua has been on a collision course with the UFC’s 205lb division for some time now and after months of speculation as to who the former Pride Grand Prix winner would take on, that task belongs to Forrest Griffin.
Shogun was named MMAWeekly’s Fighter of the Year in 2005 and after suffering an injury in a fight with Mark Coleman that gave him only his 2nd loss of his career, he has returned and reeled off an impressive series of victories over fighters such as Kazuhiro Nakamura, Alistair Overeem and Kevin Randleman.
Shogun enters the division with as much hype as any fighter has had coming into the UFC since Mirko CroCop debuted some months ago and he will be on a fast track with likely only 1 or 2 fights before he would challenge someone for the UFC light heavyweight title.
Shogun also currently holds a TKO victory over champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson that happened during his run to the Grand Prix title in 2005.
Forrest Griffin will be coming into this fight after a dominant performance over Hector Ramirez at the UFC in Ireland recently. Griffin has been one of the most popular fighters in the UFC since the Ultimate Fighter show and this fight with Shogun could boost him to instant championship status if he’s able to pull off a victory.
UFC 76 will take place September 22nd from Anaheim, California and will also feature the main event fight between former light heavyweight champion, Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell and Keith Jardine.