Former UFC light heavyweight champion Mauricio "Shogun" Rua recently spoke with Brazilian news source Tatame to give an update about his MMA career. The discussion covered his current management situation as Shogun recently split with long time manager Eduardo Alonso. The split caught many people off guard as Alonso had been with Shogun for much of his career and by all accounts the two had a great relationship. Though the reason for the split is still a bit of a mystery, an overwhelming factor was that Shogun would often have difficulty balancing training and dealing with media obligations.
The most interesting part of the interview with Tatame was Shogun's choice for his next opponent. Rua named Ryan Bader, Dan Henderson, and Rich Franklin as possibilities. However, the name that Shogun discussed the most was Quinton "Rampage" Jackson. Rua and Jackson first fought in the 2005 PRIDE Middleweight Grand Prix where Shogun finished Rampage midway through the first round with knees and soccer kicks to the face.
What's next? They've talked about Phil Davis and Rampage Jackson...
I guess it could be one of these guys. I don't discard Ryan Bader nor Rampage, Dan Henderson, Rich Franklin... I guess there are many guys I could fight. Actually, soon I'll know more about it and I'll keep you posted. I'm sure I'll train focused on my opponent and he's going to be a hard one.
So, talking about the old days.... Would you like to rematch Rampage?
Absolutely. The fight against Rampage will happen eventually. It's inevitable and UFC knows it. He won't retire before fighting me and neither am I (laughs).
Were you surprised by his performance against Ryan Bader?
It's hard to tell because we don't know what happens to each and every fighter. I don't know if he got injured, if he was not feeling ok... It's hard to know, but Rampage is very professional and deserves to be respected.
Shogun's final answer is very telling. We know at this point that Rampage entered the fight with Bader with a knee injury that prevented him from training at 100%. As a fighter he is likely more sympathetic towards Rampage's poor performance as there are always extenuating circumstances that stop a fighter from performing at the highest level.
At this moment a rematch with Rampage makes sense for both fighters. It's apparent that Jackson's career is on a down swing while Shogun has battled knee injuries for the entirety of his UFC tenure. If the UFC was going to cash in on this obviously marketable fight, the time would be now. There is also a built in story since Rampage didn't enter their first fight with the most confidence after dropping two losses to Wanderlei Silva. Obviously nothing has been sign, but expect for the UFC to book a rematch between the two PRIDE veterans.