Former UFC light heavyweight champion Mauricio Rua will weigh his training options, as he prepares for a rematch with Forrest Griffin at "UFC Rio" on Aug. 27 at the HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
It will be the first step toward recovering his title, lost to Jon Jones in a third-round technical knockout at UFC 128. Rua was invited by longtime former mentor Rafael Cordeiro to train at Kings MMA in California and indicated he will seriously consider the offer.
“It’s an open possibility, a possibility I’m considering,” Rua told Sherdog.com. “I’m always looking to develop my game, and I have a great affection for Rafael, who was my coach in the past. We’ve been talking about that for a while. We’ll do it again, and I’ll decide what’s best for me. Choosing the people I work with is a very private decision, and I’m the only one who will make it.”
Rua does not expect many changes from Griffin. Their September 2007 encounter ended in one of the year’s biggest upsets, as Griffin submitted "Shogun" with a rear-naked choke, spoiling the Brazilian’s Octagon debut.
“[Griffin] is a very tough and talented guy,” Rua said. “He’s also a former division champion. His striking is good; his takedowns, too. And his ground game is dangerous, so he’s a complete fighter. I’ll have to practice everything to beat him.”
Shogun claims the criticism he received following his one-sided loss to Jones did not faze him. Never before had the 2005 Pride Fighting Championships middleweight grand prix winner been so thoroughly dominated.
“If people are worried about that,” Rua said, “it’s because they’re interested in me.”
Rua, 29, received more than criticism. Support flowed in from fans, friends and people like Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Strikeforce middleweight champion Ronaldo Souza and UFC featherweight titleholder Jose Aldo, among others.
“It’s great when you see people like them on your side,” Rua said. “Brazilian fighters are all very respectful, inside and outside the Octagon, and that only increases my motivation. Losing is natural. I always want to win, and I feel grateful for the support I received from them and my fans.”
The Rua-Griffin rematch figures to serve as the co-main event at "UFC Rio." A middleweight title bout pitting longtime champion Anderson Silva against Yushin Okami will headline the show. According to UFC representatives in Brazil, UFC President Dana White and UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta will be in Rio de Janeiro to formally announce the lineup in June.
Colin Foster contributed to this report.