(Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
Mauricio Rua's reputation has been dragged through the mud a bit by UFC president Dana White. Dana said that Shogun was contacted and asked if he would fight Glover Teixeira, who had just made a very successful and violent debut against Kyle Kingsbury, and that Shogun would rather be cut than face Teixeira.
It seemed like an odd way for Dana to treat a guy who has taken on all comers during his MMA career and, in a recent interview with Tatame, Shogun also said it isn't true:
Despite all the mess about who you are fighting against, there was a rumor about you declining a fight with Glover Teixeira, which made Dana White mad. What really happened?
They asked me to fight Glover, my manager told me and then I talked to my team and we decided not to fight Glover because he's a top guy but, but he's building a career in the UFC. He fought once and it was on an undercard, so it's not fair. I made it clear that it wasn't interesting for us now. But in a while it may happen, but not now.
Is your goal now to have a title shot?
Actually everyone wants it. It's not interesting for me right now. Maybe in the future... If I defeated him I wouldn't reach a level of having a chance at the title. He's a top guy, but he just got here and doesn't have a history in the UFC. Three, four fights from now it's possible, but not now. Dana White commented I rather leave UFC than fighting him but it was not true. UFC never thought about it neither did I. At any point I said I would leave in case I fought him. I just said it was not interesting right now and that's why we had our agreement. This conversation never happened.
Shogun has a very legitimate point. He gains very little in terms of general opinion by beating a guy like Teixeira who, while extremely tough and talented, is not known in the "mainstream."
He may only be 30 years old, but his body has a lot of "fighter miles" on it and he has been in a lot of wars. If he and his camp feel it's in their best interest to only fight "top guys" and wait until Glover is more established before taking that fight, I have no problem with that.
Let's be real about the idea that Shogun is ducking anyone. The guy has fought nine opponents in a row who held major world championships. That's not exactly the mark of a guy who runs from a challenge.