On this week’s edition of “MMA Live,” UFC president Dana White explained why Mauricio “Shogun” Rua dons a light heavyweight belt and not a doctorate. Shogun recently claimed a Holiday return was on his radar, but the boss ain’t trying to hear that noise.
“People keep asking me why he’s had so many knee surgeries,” White said of Shogun’s propensity to expedite the rehabilitation process. “That’s exactly why he’s had that many knee surgeries. First of all, we sent him to the best doctor in the United States to get his knee fixed and this kid keeps pushing it because he wants to get out there faster and faster.
“I completely respect him for that, he’s an animal. I love it, but there’s no way he’s gonna be ready by December. He’s looking at spring/early summer.”
Zoiks! Shogun captured the 205-pound crown in his last appearance at UFC 113 in May. His sabbatical means the Octagon’s sexiest title and arguably deepest division will be at a standstill for at least a year. Unless, company brass decide to go the interim champ route just to keep the talent-rich weight class moving.
“I doubt it,” What matter-fatctly said of manufacturing a title. “When we did the belt with [heavyweight title holder Brock Lesnar], we didn’t know if Brock was ever gonna be back or if he was going to be back in a year or two. Of course when we make the decision to do the interim title, we find out it’s a “miracle” and that Brock’s coming back.”
Conveniently, it was former UFC light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans, who moonlights as an analyst for the popular ESPN show, that probed White about the fugazy belt. Evans earned next dibs at a 5Round affair after dominating Quinton “Rampage” Jackson at UFC 114 in May, however it appears he will be forced to take another fight with Shogun’s extended absence. So, of course he had to ask again just to make sure.
“No, we’re not going to do an interim title,” White emphatically stated.”We know this kid is coming back. He’s already had the surgery, we know exactly the date that he can come back. He’s obviously pushing for earlier, which I obviously am not a big fan of.
“The kid’s had three knee surgeries because he’s pushed it too hard.”
The rumor mill has been silent on the Evans front, particularly after Lyoto Machida was assigned to Rampage for a yet-to-be determined date. However, there should be plenty of chatter now that Shogun’s timeline has been laid out.
Certainly, some souring news for “Sugar.”