PRIDE veteran Mauricio “Shogun” Rua talks to ESPN about his upcoming bout with Forrest Griffin at UFC 76: Knockout.
“I’ve never hand-picked an opponent.”
Those words from the mouth of former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Chuck Liddell were spoken in order to shoot down a slew of rumors that popped up last week concerning Liddell possibly hand-selecting Keith Jardine as his opponent at UFC 76.
Liddell discussed the Jardine rumors as well as the usual fight selection process he went through in the UFC with MMA Weekly:
“There would be no reason to hand-pick Jardine. The only time I’ve ever asked for a guy is when I asked to fight Kevin Randleman because I wanted to fight a guy that had a name at the time because they kept giving me guys as little known as I was. I think that’s the only time I’ve ever asked for someone specifically.”
“They talked to me about fighting Wanderlei in September, and I said, ‘Yeah, that’s fine. Cool. Perfect.’ Then I heard it fell out. I assumed they were going to put me with Shogun [Rua] because I knew he was on the same card. I figured they would put me with Shogun, but they came to me and said they wanted me to fight Keith. I’m not complaining. I don’t argue with people about who I’m going to fight. I fight whoever they tell me to,” explained Liddell.
Various sites reported that Liddell was offered a choice between Jardine, Mauricio Rua, Kazuhiro Nakamura, and Ryoto Machida.
The UFC has officially announced that Mauricio “Shogun” Rua will make his UFC debut Sept. 22, 2007 at UFC 76: Knockout when he faces Forrest Griffin.
“Shogun” Rua (16-2) has solidified himself as one of the top light heavyweights in the world defeating the likes of Alistair Overeem, Kevin Randleman, Ricaro Arona, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, and Quinton Jackson while fighting in PRIDE. Shogun is an extremely well rounded fighter who possesses excellent BJJ and Muay Thai skills. In 2005 Shogun was able to capture the PRIDE Middleweight Grand Prix belt defeating Alistair Overeem and Ricardo Arona.
Rua’s opponent, Forrest Griffin, sports a mixed martial arts record of 14-4. Griffin appeared on the debut season of The Ultimate Fighter and eventually came out the victor of the light heavyweight division. Griffin made a splash early scoring impressive victories over Stephan Bonnar, Bill Mahood, and Elvis Sinosic. At UFC 59 Griffin faced Tito Ortiz in what turned out to be one of the better fights of the year. In the end Ortiz scored the decision victory. Since that time Griffin has gone 2-1 with victories over Stephan Bonnar and Hector Ramirez. His sole loss came to the hands of Keith Jardine.
UFC 76 should live up to the name of knockout as Chuck Liddell will also be appearing on the card when he faces fellow striker Keith “The Dean of Mean” Jardine.
Today Tagg Radio broke the news that Forrest Griffin would face PRIDE light heavyweight ace Mauricio “Shogun” Rua at UFC 76 on September 22nd in Anahiem, California. Master Rudimar Fedrigo solidified those reports but confirming that Shogun went to Las Vegas to sign the contract and shoot some pre-fight videos.
Master Rudimar Fedrigo confirmed us that Mauricio Shogun will face Forrest Griffin at UFC 76, that is schedule for September 22, at. “We went specially to Las Vegas to sign the contract for four fights and to record the videos for before the fight”, said Rudimar, that arrive at Curitiba today.
Rudimar also confirmed that Shogun’s brother, Murilo “Ninja” Rua, would be defending his EliteXC middleweight title against Robbie Lawler.
News and Notes
- Our rumors section has been updated…
- We have confirmed through a source that Jason Black has inked a new four fight contract with the UFC. Also it looks like former UFC lightweight champion Jens “Little Evil” Pulver will be making his WEC debut on September 5th at WEC 30.
- TKO has announced that Bob Landry, Adrian Wooley and Valerie Letourneau will be fighting at TKO 30: Apocalypse.
- UFC Junkie is reporting that Thiago Alves will face Kuniyoshi Hironaka at UFC Fight Night 11.
- It looks like Mauricio “Shogun” Rua will make his UFC debut against Ryoto Machida at UFC 76 in September.
- Gesias “JZ” Calvancanti has pulled out of his July 16th K-1 Hero’s fight due to an undisclosed injury.
- Be sure to check out our latest rankings as well as our current poll…
OC Register: News and Notes from UFC 73
Sherdog: Cage Rage Aims to be “Hard as Hell”
Sportsnet: All-Canadian Title Fight
InTheNews UK: Mixed Martial Arts (MMA)
PR.com: Mainstream MMA Announces Expansion/Growth Plans
The trend of future UFC matchups being revealed is continuing this week and UFC President Dana White is a big part of it.
White announced a trio of possible future matchups at the post-fight press conference for UFC 73:
- Anderson Silva will meet Rich Franklin for the second time in a UFC Middleweight Championship bout on October 20th in Franklin’s hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio. It was announced that Franklin would face the winner of last night’s bout between Silva and Nate Marquardt after UFC 72 and White confirmed the situation last night.
- White also announced that BJ Penn has decided to stay in the lightweight division and will challenge Sean Sherk for his UFC Lightweight Title in November.
- Mirko Cro Cop will take on Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira later this year provided that he is victorious over Cheick Kongo at UFC 75 according to White.
White also stated that Chuck Liddell will most likely fight again in September during an interview yesterday on the Scott Ferrall Show:
“Chuck is probably going to fight again in September,” White said yesterday on the radio program. “We’re working on a big fight for him. We don’t have it done yet, but Chuck is chomping at the bit to jump back in there and fight again.“
This contradicts previous reports that had White saying that Liddell now wouldn’t be able to fight again until November.
White made clear about yet another possible matchup during an interview with The Gainesville Sun that would take place at UFC 76: Maurico Rua would make his UFC debut against Ryoto Machida.
Rua, a 205-pound Muay Thai specialist, is scheduled to start at UFC 76 on Sept. 22. White said Rua’s most likely first opponent will be Ryoto Machida (10-0), though Forrest Griffin said he would like the fight.
News and Notes:
- Renzo Gracie recently accepted Frank Shamrock’s request for a rematch on MMA Weekly’s Sound Off:
Gracie was recently on MMAWeekly Radio to responds to Shamrock’s challenge. “I never get invited to a party that I didn’t show up. I’d love to do it again,” Gracie said excitedly. Anyone who knows Gracie knows that he never shies away from a challenge and that he has the heart of a lion. “I want to finish a fight that I never had a chance to finish. I think it will be a continuation of what we had in February.”
- Maurico Rua has stated that his leg injury is not as severe as many media outlets are reporting that he will still continue to train while undergoing physical therapy.
- Jason Gilliam will be replacing an injured Drew Fickett as Chris Lytle’s opponent at UFC 73.
- UFC Junkie is reporting that Renato “Babalu” Sobral will make his return to the Octagon at UFC 74 against David Heath.
- Jess Liaudin has announced that he will be training with Team Quest for his upcoming bout at UFC 75 in September:
“I wanted to go to [Las] Vegas to train with Randy [Couture],” Liaudin said. “I saw his new gym, and it looked great. Not only that, but everyone trains down there. Martin Kampmann offered to rent me his apartment because right now he’s back home having surgery on his knee. The only thing is that his apartment is about a 15-minute drive from the gym, and I don’t drive.”
“We looked around a number of different gyms,” Liaudin said. “I always wanted to go to Team Quest, but I didn’t really want to go to Oregon. Now Dan Henderson has a gym in California. My manager got in touch with them; you can stay in a house with other fighters, they come pick you up and take you to the gym and, for extra money, they even deliver food for us.”
- Justin Levens has signed a three-fight deal with Palace Fighting Championships.
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In a recent interview with The Oregonian, UFC president Dana White, confirmed that the UFC had reached a deal with Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and they were close to reaching a deal with PRIDE heavyweight ace Fedor Emelianenko.
“He’s signed and ready to roll,” White said. “You couldn’t meet a classier guy in your whole life. He will be so marketable.”
White also said he is moving close to signing a contract that would bring Pride heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko (26-1), widely considered the best fighter in the world, to the UFC.
A month ago, ChuteBoxe.com, reported that Mauricio “Shogun” Rua had signed with the UFC but the deal was never officially announced by the UFC.
Chuck Liddell recently sat down for an interview with the Baltimore Sun and revealed that PRIDE Heavyweight Champion Fedor Emelianenko may be coming over to the UFC.
Liddell was asked who he would like to fight when it comes to PRIDE fighters entering the UFC. He responded with this:
All of them. Any of the good ones. There’s “Shogun” [Mauricio Rua], there’s [Dan] Henderson. You’ve got Fedor [Emelianenko] coming over. [Antonio Rodrigo] Nogueira is coming over in the heavyweight [division].
If and when Fedor and the UFC finally settle on some kind of contract, their is going to be a huge announcement without a doubt.
It’s a legitimate question: Is PRIDE officially dead?
You only have to step back and take a look at the recent events that have taken place in the past few weeks to see that PRIDE’s future isn’t looking very promising. Well if there’s a future for the promotion at all…
PRIDE hasn’t held an event since April. It also hasn’t done much of anything except release their 10th anniversary documentary since then. One would think that the company will now get back on track since it’s acquisition by UFC parent company Zuffa is now complete according to UFC President Dana White. However that might not be the case.
The scheduled opening round for the company’s Lightweight Grand Prix on July 16th now seems that it’s not going to happen. Why? Nippon Gaishi Hall, the arena where the event was supposed to be held has now taken the show off of it’s event calendar. Couple that with White’s recent comments concerning all of PRIDE’s top fighters coming over to the UFC and it seems more and more likely that PRIDE’s run in the world of MMA is just about finished.
So what did you say about White’s comments? Well in that same interview with MMA Weekly where he stated that Zuffa now owned PRIDE, he also said that all of the promotion’s top fighters will be coming to the UFC:
“We’re going to have them all. We’re going to have them all. At the end of the day, if you want to fight the best fighters in the world, if you want to cement your place in history… and at the end of the day, the money is great, all that stuff is good, but for me I’m one of those types of people… it’s all about cementing your place in history. Who is the greatest fighter in every weight division? It’s here. It’s in the UFC. They’re all going to be here.”
Well so much for the original plan of keeping all of PRIDE’s top fighters with the company. Since the March announcement of that plan, the UFC has brought over Fabricio Werdum, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Mauricio Rua, and now Dan Henderson. Apparently they aren’t even close to being done either since Chuck Liddell’s next opponent is Wanderlei Silva…
When asked about one of Pride’s biggest stars, Wanderlei Silva, White said, “We’re going to have them all here. He [Silva] is going to be here. They’re all going to fight… they’re all under contract.” White also said that Silva would likely be Chuck Liddell’s next opponent.
With all of PRIDE’s biggest stars, including Henderson who currently holds two PRIDE belts and will challenge Quinton Jackson for the UFC Light Heavyweight title later this year, coming over to the UFC, I think it’s safe to say that they have decided to just let PRIDE wither away…