Although this wasn’t the way he imagined his career playing out four years ago, two knee surgeries with some extensive downtime later and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua has finally arrived on the doorstep of a title fight. It’s been a long time coming, however Shogun always knew that his drive and game would eventually get him here.
“I never really got worried,” Shogun said of his surgically repaired knee. “I believe in my potential. I know what I can do. I feel 100 percent focused. I only train, eat and sleep. I’ve tried to take each fight as a step toward my goal. Now, the time his come. It’s time for me to rise up to the occasion.
“Nowadays, [my knee] doesn’t really bother me at all.”
Shogun will be facing the toughest test of his career inside the Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA when he challenges Lyoto Machia for his strap. Although he will be entering the 5Rounder as a 4.5-to-1 underdog, he understands his role as the overrated and injury-prone outsider, however could care less about what his betting line reads.
“I think Lyoto is the favorite, and rightfully so,” said Rua. “It’s only right that he’s the favorite. He’s the number one fighter in the weight class and the champion. It gives me a lot of motivation to train hard and do my best, which is the goal of every fighter.”
Actually, the ultimate achievement is having UFC president Dana White wrap UFC gold around your waist after dominating an inferior opponent. Although Shogun has envisioned the moment for years, he isn’t getting too far ahead of himself as he knows what kind of fighter Machida is.
“I expect to give my best,” Rua stated. “That’s the only thing I demand of myself. I never obligate myself to win a fight, but I feel that if I can perform like I know I can, it could be a good night for me. ”
UFC 104 pops off this Saturday, October 24th, and will feature a free Spike TV and UFC per-per-view combo:
Chase Gormley vs. Stefan Struve
Razak Al-Hassan vs. Kyle Kingsbury
Josh Neer vs. Gleison Tibau
Jorge Rivera vs. Rob Kimmons
Yushin Okami vs. Chael Sonnen
(Spike TV 9PM ET/6PM PT)
Antoni Hardonk vs. Pat Barry
Ryan Bader vs. Eric Schafer
Anthony Johnson vs. Yoshiyuki Yoshida
Joe Stevenson vs. Spencer Fisher
Ben Rothwell vs. Cain Velasquez
Mauricio “Shogun” Rua vs. Lyoto Machida (UFC Light Heavyweight Champion)