Whatever happened to Ricardo Arona?

Guilherme Cruz of MMA Fighting

He was one of Pride's top stars but he's hardly fought since 2007. Why didn't Ricardo Arona ever make it to the UFC?

Many of us have wondered over the years why Ricardo Arona still hasn't fought in the Octagon. The Pride star who gave Fedor Emelianeko and Wanderlei Silva the toughest challenges they faced in their glory days, has only fought one time since losing by KO to Sokoudjou in his final Pride appearance.

Guilherme Cruz of MMA Fighting spoke to Arona and dispelled the mystery:

"When Pride was over I didn't negotiate with the UFC," Arona told MMAFighting.com in Itacoatiara, a beautiful beach in Niteroi, Rio de Janeiro. "I wanted to take some time off. I was fighting five times a year and needed some rest. When I decided to return, I injured my knee and everything has changed.

"I competed professionally since I was 15, and when I was 30 I needed to stop," he continued. "Pride was over and I decided to stop and look to the MMA market, to see where I'd fit. I fought again two years later, at Bitetti Combat, but I torn the ACL in the first round. I fought two more rounds, so it took me almost two years to heal.

"When I decided to fight again, I started to train with my friend Paulo Filho, but I injured my other knee," he said. "I've tore the ligaments of my other knee and I will have to go on surgery again. I will do the surgery by the end of the year, so I will need to take some time off to be at 100 percent again. That's the reason I'm not fighting yet. I have to heal everything to return."

Arona also says that in 2010 his friend Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira took him to a meeting with Dana White and the UFC president told him he'd need to pick up a win or two before signing with the UFC.

He's projected to be recovered from his knee injuries in 2015 when he will be 36. In the meantime he's building his own MMA gym in his home and looking forward to training with his friends Anderson Silva, the Nogueira brothers and Paulo Filho.

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