Mauricio "Shogun" Rua could be playing a little "Duck, Duck, Goose" with UFC newcomer Glover Teixeira.
The former UFC light heavyweight champion was initially scheduled to face Thiago Silva in the UFC on FOX 3 main event slated for August 4, but an injury sustained during training forced Silva off the card.
With the main event in shambles, the UFC scrambled to find a suitable replacement to headline the always-important FOX card.
The UFC and Shogun eventually settled on Brandon Vera as a replacement opponent, but according to UFC President Dana White, Vera wasn't the first name the promotion had in mind.
In a post-fight interview with Ariel Helwani at UFC on FX 3, White spilled the beans on Shogun's camp turning down a proposed bout with Teixeira.
"[Shogun] said he'd actually rather be cut than have to fight [Teixeira]. Dude, nobody wants to fight this guy. Nobody wants to fight this guy. We're trying to match this guy up with somebody, but he didn't mind fighting Brandon Vera, so, he's fighting Brandon Vera."
White's statements are a stark contrast to remarks made by Shogun's manager, Julio Heller, who guaranteed to Tatame.com about a week ago that Shogun never turned down a fight with Teixeira.
"I just sent a message to the UFC," said Heller. "I'm waiting on their call. It's not true at all."
It's very true to White, who was admittedly surprised at Rua for turning down a fight. After all of Rua's accomplishments, it's shocking to see a fighter of his caliber pass on a bout against a possible future contender in the light heavyweight division.
"I don't want to sound like I'm disrespecting Shogun because I'm not. I'm just telling the truth. It's verbatim what his people said when we talked to him, and you know me, I tell it like it is. If you don't want that out in public, then don't say it to me, then don't say it on the phone because I'm going to say what was said.
But Shogun's a warrior. The guy has fought everybody from Pride to the UFC. His last fight with Dan Henderson was awesome, and yeah, it is what it is. I don't think we're rewarding him. It's just one of those weird situations I've never seen a guy at the level that Shogun is at not want to fight a guy so bad."
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