It is a rematch four years in the making.
This time, however, the outcome will be much different.
Although Rua is coming off a devastating loss to Jon “Bones” Jones back in March, expect to see quite possibly the hungriest Shogun that has ever stepped inside the octagon. In addition to being motivated to even the score of what is arguably his most embarrassing loss, Rua will be fighting in his home country for the first time since 2003.
Perhaps most important to note is the fact that Rua has not had a post-fight knee surgery since his last fight.
Historically, Rua’s surgeries have been a reoccurring problem in his career. After injuring his knee after the first Griffin fight, Shogun returned with a sluggish performance over Mark Coleman at UFC 93, a match which he won by a third-round knockout.
A few months later, however, Shogun defeated former champion Chuck Liddell with a tremendous display of striking and movement.
He went on to fight the undefeated champion Lyoto Machida with a pair a strong performances. Although Rua controversially lost the first fight, he was granted an immediate rematch and knocked out Machida in the first round.
As luck would have it, Rua required yet another knee surgery after defeating Machida, which turned into another sluggish performance against Jon Jones.
Griffin is not a slouch, though. After submitting Shogun, he went on to defeat Rampage Jackson and win the title. His record since then has been a bit spotty, however. He was knocked out consecutively by Rashad Evans and Anderson Silva, and won a controversial split decision over Tito Ortiz. His last convincing win was over Rich Franklin back in UFC 126.
If we were to compare highlights between the two fighters, one would be hard pressed to find a Griffin highlight reel that could match Rua’s. As it stands, the very best Forrest Griffin is not as good as the very best Mauricio Rua.
At UFC 134, we will see the very best Shogun. Both fighters are hungry and want the belt back, but I’m feeling more than a bit sorry for Forrest Griffin.