Shogun puts the brakes on middleweight talk

Richard Wolowicz

Despite it being a point of constant speculation throughout his UFC career, Mauricio "Shogun" Rua is doing his best to stop the talks of him dropping to middleweight.

Recently, Mauricio Rua's weight has been a point of interest. Long considered one of the smaller fighters in the light heavyweight division, he has given fans critical of his recent performances, and seemingly poor conditioning, a glimmer of hope that he might be dropping down. When asked, he's mentioned several times in the past couple months that a move to 185 lbs is a distinct possibility.

"Maybe I can [drop down to middleweight] and maintain my performance," he said.

"I would need to think about it, but that's something that can happen."

- Transcription via Elias Cepeda (FOX Sports)

But now, as his fight date looms and questions continue it appears that he's softening his stance somewhat. He spoke to MMAjunkie about the possibility of a future cut to middleweight:

"That's a question everyone asks, about dropping to middleweight," Rua recently said. "I've talked about it a lot with my manager and teammates, but I never gave serious thought to dropping in weight class. It could happen, but for now I am not thinking about it as I am booked to fight in my weight class, as a light heavyweight."

...

"To be honest, I would have to undergo some medical examinations regarding the possible weight drop," said Rua, who recently marked his 12-year anniversary as a pro MMA fighter. "My walk-around weight is around 104, 105 kilograms (about 230 pounds). So to go down to 84 kilograms, I'd have to drop 20 kilograms (44 pounds)."

There's no question, if Rua is walking around at 230 lbs, as he states, that a drop to middleweight would be incredibly hard. A change down a division may mean a change in his entire training system. And for a fighter who is as established in his career as he is, that may be nearly impossible.

Either way, Rua finds himself with his back against the wall when he faces James Te Huna on December 7 in Brisbane, Australia. Excepting a quick win over Forrest Griffin, Rua hasn't looked like a fresh fighter since his 2010 title run. He's made a few camp changes in that time as well, so there could be some attribution of poor training environments for the still only 32 year old fighter. But if he can't get past Te Huna next month some more serious career evaluation may be in order.

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