Mauricio "Shogun" Rua has heard the calls for him to drop to middleweight for many years. He's still not interested.
Rua is coming off an emphatic win over James Te Huna at UFC Fight Night 33 in early December, but he's still just 5-5 in his last 10 fights dating back to the loss to Forrest Griffin in his UFC debut at UFC 76. Rua may have issued a swift beating to Te Huna, but that hasn't stopped fans from wishing (and often outright insisting) that he would make the drop in weight.
It's not happening—not according to Rua, anyway. Here's what he told MMAFighting's Guilherme Cruz:
I’ll stay at 205. There’s no way (I can drop to 185). I spoke with my team after the fight and they said I shouldn’t (move down), so I won’t. I’ll stay at 205.
The light-heavyweight division is the toughest division. I won two world titles in this division, so I’m adapted to it. My dream is to win the title again, but I’m only thinking about my next fight. I’m not thinking about the title now.
Rua is rumored to face Antonio Rogerio Nogueira next. That's if his fellow Brazilian fighter can stay healthy, of course. Since signing with the UFC in 2009, Nogueira has competed just six times. He was most recently booked to face Alexander Gustafsson on March 8 in London, but a lingering back injury forced him to withdraw five days after the fight was announced.
Shogun told Cruz he's fine with the idea of facing Nogueira: "Sure, (my next fight) could be ‘Minotouro.’ He’s done great recently so this fight could happen (next)."
Can Rua make middleweight? He's the expert on his own body, so we'll have to defer to him when he says he can't do it. But speculation will continue to rage on, mostly due to the fact that he is a small light heavyweight. In fact, he's even smaller than many middleweights, and even in his best shape (at 205 pounds), he still appears to be a bit soft.
Perhaps he just doesn't want to go through a tough weight cut this late in his career. You can't blame him for that, and he's earned the opportunity to do whatever he wants and fight wherever he wants. But if Shogun suffers another loss or two, Joe Silva might start making those decisions for him.