September 21, 2007

by MMAWeekly TV

Mauricio “Shogun” Rua makes his long-awaited Ultimate Fighting Championship debut Saturday night at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif at UFC 76. Already ranked as the #1 fighter in the world in the light heavyweight division – squaring off in the Octagon against Forrest Griffin – Shogun now looks to assert himself as the #1 contender to Quinton Jackson’s UFC belt.

It has been nearly seven months since Shogun has fought. He most recently knocked out Alistair Overeem as part of Pride’s last show in America back in February of this year.

Although he is confident heading into his UFC debut against Griffin, Shogun is careful not to overlook his opponent. “He is a very tough fighter and deserves respect … but I’m going to use my complete game and show everything I know and impose my game over his.”

Making his entrance into a quickly crowding UFC light heavyweight division, Shogun believes that Griffin is among the best the UFC has to offer in his class.

Asked about the top fighters in the UFC’s 205-pound class, Shogun was quick to point out “Quinton Jackson, Chuck Liddell, Wanderlei Silva and Forrest Griffin.”

He does believe, however, that following his fight on Saturday night, his place amongst them will be further solidified. “I only expect the best. I am very focused to make a great showing.”

Shogun stated the above comments and more in an exclusive pre-fight interview with MMAWeekly’s Ivan Canello. The entire video interview is available now in MMAWeekly.com’s Premium Members section In The Cage.