In this ESPN.com blog, former light heavyweight champion Mauricio "Shogun" Rua discusses what went wrong against Jon Jones, dealing with his brother Murilo's retirement, and operating on all cylinders ahead of UFC 134 in Rio.
Rio de Janeiro -- I’ve had six months to think about the way I lost my UFC light heavyweight belt to Jon Jones. When you lose a fight, it’s always a tough process and there are many things to consider as to why it happened, what can be done differently and where and what to do next.
One guy is going to win, one guy is going to lose -- but usually there are not only one or two things to evaluate as to what you could have done differently, but a combination of several things. I worked hard to correct those mistakes I made in the Jones fight ahead of this UFC Rio bout with Forrest Griffin.
Really, in the Jones fight, what happened was I got hurt early on and I was having some trouble finding the right distance in the fight. I was also getting tired, and throwing leg kicks spends a lot of energy which is why I didn’t throw so many of them, and there was also the risk of being taken down; it was a combination of factors which stopped me from performing at my best. But whatever I did wrong in training for that fight, it doesn't take Jones’s merits away and he was the better fighter that night.
Some people think I was out of shape and are worried about my knees still being hurt after I had so much trouble with them. That isn’t the case -- there’s nothing wrong with my knees, and they were 100 percent ready for that fight, as it was all cleared by the doctor. We made the biggest effort in doing my rehab as perfectly as possible and the UFC was kind enough to let me come back on a date that was proper to do it, according to the doctors. I have no injury excuses.
As a professional fighter, you always have some injuries, even if they are minor. It's impossible, or very rare, to go through a camp without any pain. Right now I'm 100 percent, without any injuries and ready to go, but we always have to work around pain and work around injuries, and as a fighter you are always trying to make the best of it.
On 'Ninja' Rua's retirement
My elder brother, Murilo, recently retired from MMA. Retirement for a professional fighter is never an easy thing. You prepare yourself for that day but, to us, it’s like it will never come. We have been discussing with my brother and our manager his retirement for quite a while, and we had come to a decision that, winning or losing aside, it would be soon. After his last fight, and the way he lost, there was no reason to keep doing it for him.
He was tired and didn't have the fire to train hard every day anymore, as he has been on this road for long. Obviously, it's a bit tough for him and for the family, but he is working with MMA and doing a bunch of stuff, so with time he will transition better to his new types of work in MMA. As a family, we took it gladly and happy cause we love him and knew it wasn't being right for him anymore.
However, I still have his full support and he has helped me prepare for this huge fight with Forrest Griffin in Rio. Everyone is getting into MMA in Brazil now and this is a huge stage for me to get back on track.
You can follow Rua on Twitter at shogunrua and watch him battle Forrest Griffin at UFC 134 on Saturday, Aug. 27, on pay-per-view