In the semi-main event of UFC 134: Rio, Forrest Griffin (18-6; 9-4 UFC) faces Mauricio Rua (19-5; 3-3 UFC), better known as Shogun. This is a Light Heavyweight contest between two former UFC Light Heavyweight champions. According to the USA TODAY / MMA Nation Consensus MMA Rankings, Shogun is currently the #3 Light Heavyweight in the world, while Griffin sits at #6.
Like the Anderson Silva vs. Yushin Okami main event, this fight is a rematch. These two met four years ago at UFC 76. At that time, Shogun was widely considered the #1 Light Heavyweight in the world, and was making his UFC debut. Griffin was still a rising star, known more as a personality from The Ultimate Fighter than as a legitimate top talent. In that fight, Griffin outworked a visibly exhausted Rua, ultimately securing a rear naked choke for the win in the final seconds of the fight. Both men have since gone on to win and lose the Light Heavyweight title.
How do these two stack up?
Griffin: 32 years old | 6'3" | 77" reach
Rua: 29 years old | 6'1" | 76" reach
What have these two done recently?
How did these two get here?
Both men come in to this fight on a recent path of highs and lows. For Forrest Griffin, the 2007 win over Shogun was the start of his true rise to the top of the Light Heavyweight ranks. He followed that win up by defeating Quinton Jackson for the Light Heavyweight title. But after dropping the belt to Rashad Evans, he suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of Anderson Silva. He's only fought twice in the two years since that loss, scoring two good, if unmemorable, wins. Griffin had great momentum a few years ago, but time off to get healthy and focus on his writing has stalled that momentum. He needs a big win here.
Shogun was, at one time, the young superstar of MMA. During his Pride years, he was virtually unstoppable, winning the Pride Grand Prix at just 23 years old. He came into the UFC on a mountain of hype, but the Griffin loss and subsequent poor showing against Mark Coleman crumbled that mountain. Shogun fought back, defeating Lyoto Machida (twice, some would argue) to win the Light Heavyweight crown, before falling to Jon Jones - the new young superstar. Shogun now needs to prove if he is still relevant, or if the Lyoto fights were his last grasp at the top.
Why should you care?
These are two highly entertaining and competitive fighters, both badly in need of a win, with the winner moving into title contention. It's also a rematch of a great fight. There's a lot on the line here, and both men will hopefully show that.
More UFC 134 Previews from Bloody Elbow after the jump.
- Bloody Elbow Staff Predictions for UFC 134
- Anderson Silva vs. Yushin Okami Preview - Leland Roling
- Anderson Silva vs. Yushin Okami 1 Fight Video - Mike Fagan
- Mauricio 'Shogun' Rua vs. Forrest Griffin Preview - Leland Roling
- Brendan Schaub vs. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira Dissection - Dallas Winston
- Ross Pearson vs Edson Barboza Dissection - Dallas Winston
- Luiz Cane vs. Stanislav Nedkov Dissection - Dallas Winston
- UFC 134 Celebrity Picks - Cove Reber vs. Natasha Wicks
- Spike TV Preliminary Card Dissection - Dallas Winston
- UFC 134: Rio - Facebook Preliminary Card Dissection - Dallas Winston
- UFC 134: Weigh-In Video Highlights