For those of you wondering how Mauricio Rua's career would be affected by losses in four of his past six bouts, your answer has arrived. According to The Daily Telegraph, the former light heavyweight champion meets unranked power-puncher James Te Huna when the UFC returns to Australia for Fight Night 33.
The drop in opponent caliber shouldn't come as much of a surprise. Despite an incredible 12-1 run under the PRIDE banner, Rua has been unable to build any real momentum inside the Octagon. Also, despite 11 Zuffa appearances, "Shogun" has yet to put together more than two consecutive victories.
Currently, Rua is on the first skid of his career after losses to Alexander Gustafsson and Chael Sonnen. Now sporting a UFC mark of 5-6, he has the distinction of being the only champion in light heavyweight history to have a sub-500 record in the organization.
The heavy-handed Te Huna quietly put together a four-fight winning streak that began in 2011, but became the victim of No. 1 contender Glover Teixeira back in May. His overall record in the UFC is 5-2, with the other loss coming to UFC 165 headliner Alexander Gustafsson.
This is an important fight for both men. Another loss for Rua would likely spell retirement. Meanwhile, a loss for Te Huna would drop him to 0-3 against ranked opponents and could permanently relegate him to gatekeeper status.
UFC Fight Night 33 takes place on Saturday, December 7 in Brisbane, Queensland. The card will be headlined by another New Zealand vs. Brazil matchup when Mark Hunt challenges Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva in the main event.
Stay tuned to Bleacher Report MMA for news and fight card updates on UFC Fight Night 33.