Going into UFC 134: Rio, “Shogun” Rua says he feels prepared both physically and mentally for his rematch with Forrest Griffin.
After their first meeting at UFC 76: Knockout, Rua had to deal with coming into the UFC and getting stopped by Griffin in an upset loss. Now, after healing from injuries, things have evolved on both ends and “Shogun” is getting the chance to avenge his loss to The Ultimate Fighter Season 1 winner.
Although dealing with the loss was tough, Rua feels it’s something he has to get used to as an athlete and he’d get the chance to see Forrest again.
“Obviously, we always get sad with all the losses we suffer, but as as athletes, we have to be used to it, we have to deal with it and we have to go through it,” Rua said Tuesday morning. “Forrest is a very good fighter, he’s a top fighter, and being a top fighter, I knew that I could fight him again, eventually. I think he’s a fighter that evolved a lot, that go a lot better since our last fight. So did I. I also evolved a lot.”
Rua looks forward giving the fans a chance to see him at 100 percent. According to the 2005 Pride open weight tournament champion, he and Griffin always come to showcase a good fight and he’s certain that’ll be the case at UFC 134: Rio.
“I think it’s going to be a great fight for the fans because Forrest is a guy that always comes to fight,” Rua said. “He loves fighting, he goes in there to give the fans a fight and I’m pretty much the same. I’m always there to try to finish a fight.”
Griffin – who humorously claims he is more than open to fighting the easy fights at light heavyweight – knows what his pending opponent is capable of. According to Griffin, Rua’s performance against former light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell is a perfect example of what the former Pride superstar can do when pitted against a high-profile opponent.
Against Liddell, the Brazilian fighter displayed precision striking and didn’t seem like injury stopped him from performing at his highest peak. With skills like that, it’s clear that Rua can do some damage and Griffin is fully aware of that.
Forrest says one always has to be ready for a top notch “Shogun.”
“Seems like when he fought Chuck (Liddell), he was 100 percent on his game,” Griffin said. “Hopefully, that’s not the guy that’ll show up, but that’s the guy you want to be ready for.”
And if Rua gets past Griffin in Rio de Janeiro, he could be in the mix for a title shot once again, according to UFC president Dana White.
“There’s no doubt ‘Shogun’ is one of the best in the world,” White said on Tuesday. “He’s probably two fights away from being considered (for a title shot) again.”