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Mauricio Rua not thinking about UFC title right now, eyes May return in his hometown

After his come-from-behind win over Tyson Pedro in Australia, Mauricio Rua would like to fight in Curitiba again next May.

MMA: UFC Fight Night-Adelaide-Rua vs Pedro
Mauricio Rua
James Elsby-USA TODAY Sports

Former UFC light heavyweight champion Mauricio Rua did not let his gritty come-from-behind TKO win over Tyson Pedro get to his head too much. Even though ‘Shogun’ endured many powerful shots in the first round to eventually pick up a stoppage in the third at UFC Adelaide, the 37-year-old tells Combate he is not too worried about being awarded a title shot just yet.

In fact, Rua revealed that the title, which will be contested between former champion Jon Jones and perennial contender Alexander Gustafsson, is not a matter for him to worry about. All that Mauricio wishes right now is to perform in his hometown of Curitiba once again.

“I don’t think about the belt,” Shogun said. “I’m going to be fair, I believe there are people ahead of me and I don’t want to jump ahead of them unless the UFC wants me to. But I’ll never say it’s my turn, because it’s not. There are many guys ahead of me, Gustafsson and Jones, who’ll fight for the title. I think about winning each single fight. My only focus right now is to fight in Curitiba, in May, in my hom town. That’s my goal.”

Although Rua survived a violent first round from Pedro, he revealed to not remember most of the fight and relied on his coach, Eduardo Alonso, to tell him how it went down after the flurry of punches that almost knocked Mauricio out. Furthermore, Shogun explained how his gameplan was to tire Tyson out with his jiu-jitsu in order to win the fight.

“I don’t really remember,” Shogun said. “Eduardo told me I was rocked at a certain moment or two. Because of that, I think he won the first round. I won the second and knocked him out in the third. I really don’t remember much from the fight. I was happy with the result, winning is great. The victory erases all the pain, the exhaustion. There’s nothing better than a win. Tyson Pedro is a young guy, he’s versatile, he enjoys muay thai, jiu-jitsu.

“A grappling fight is always more exhausting for the guy on the bottom. That was one of our goals, if we could take him down, get on top and tire him out, we could score some points. We were able to do that by the end of the first round and the second and that opened the path for knockout.”

Before defeating Tyson Pedro, Mauricio Rua (26-11) was knocked out by Anthony Smith in July 2018. The loss snapped Shogun’s longest UFC win streak, with three wins, over the likes of Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, Corey Anderson and Gian Villante.

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