UFC 134: 5 Reasons Shogun Rua Will Get His Revenge Against Forrest Griffin
Most people wrote off Forrest Griffin in his bout with Mauricio "Shogun" Rua at UFC 76 in September 2007. Since then, both Rua and Griffin have had reigns as the UFC Light-Heavyweight Champion and are both looking to get back on the path to reclaim the belt they lost.
In their first fight, Griffin slowed Shogun down and eventually got a third-round submission victory with a rear naked choke.
Shogun is looking for redemption and here are five reasons why he will achieve said redemption.
1. Shogun Is Motivated After Losing the Light Heavyweight Title
Shogun has been on a tear in the division, but he ran into a road block in Jon Jones. Jones is arguably the best light-heavyweight fighter going right now, and while that makes no excuse for Shogun to lose the bout, he did only have a number of weeks to prepare for a gifted talent and was coming off of knee surgery.
Shogun is a motivated fighter and will definitely want back in the title picture. A win against Griffin could put him next in line after Rashad Evans. If that's not enough motivation, how about the next slide.
2. Fighting in Brazil
As we all know, UFC 134 will take place in Shogun's home country of Brazil—for Shogun, that means good news.
He is 3-0 in his MMA career when fighting in his native Brazil and, minus his PRIDE fight against Mark Coleman in February 2006 (where the fight had to be stopped due to Shogun's broken arm), Shogun has never lost a bout outside the United States in his MMA career.
While Shogun feels "literally" at home, one can't say the same for his opponent, as evidenced by this article from ESPN.
3. No Pressure for Shogun
Yes, complain about the title of this slide because, realistically, when you fight in front of your home crowd, there is nothing but pressure on you to win.
However, when it comes to Shogun, that is not the pressure we are talking about here.
The pressure was on Shogun in the first fight.
At UFC 76, Shogun was making his UFC debut after a dominant career in PRIDE. Names like Rampage Jackson and Alistair Overeem fell to the former champ. Most times, in quick, devastating fashion.
He came to the UFC ranked as the No. 1 light-heavyweight in the world by several MMA websites like Sherdog and MMAWeekly.com.
That pressure, along with an ailing knee injury, was more than enough for Shogun to go into the first fight with a disadvantage.
This time around, Shogun is 3-3 in his UFC career and, while he is currently the No. 2 ranked light-heavyweight, he doesn't have nearly the same amount of pressure as he did last time.
4. Shogun Isn't the Same Fighter He Was Last Time Around
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It's easy to say that any fighter learns from their previous fights, and it's true—most fighters take the mistakes of the past, learn from them and make themselves better fighters because of it, such as life.
Shogun's been working on his cardio rigorously during this training camp and attributes his first loss to a number of things, however, he admits that Griffin had more in the tank.
Shogun did an interview with ESPN about the first fight and says that Griffin outlasted him.
"I'm training hard and doing as much as I can so I don't get tired," said the Brazilian. "That was my biggest mistake in the first fight, and this time I'll work hard so that it doesn't happen again.
5. Shogun Wants to Finish, Griffin Hasn't Since Their First Fight
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After the judging debacle that plagued UFC 104, Shogun has looked more aggressive and is looking for the knockout.
He finished Machida in the first round to claim the title and lost to Jones in his most recent fight.
Can you blame Shogun for not wanting to go to the judges' scorecards for a decision that could change his title aspirations from one year to two years?
Well, don't tell that to Forrest Griffin because he has been the one getting the good side of the judges as of late.
It's not to say he didn't earn his victories over Tito Ortiz and Rich Franklin and that he wasn't looking for a finish, but the fact is, Griffin hasn't finished a fight since he submitted Shogun at UFC 76, and that was late in the third round.
Griffin has a tough chin, but all it takes is one well-timed right hand and even he could fall victim to a vicious KO.
Can Shogun defeat Griffin? Will it be a vicious KO or a drawn-out ground game that decides this one? What do you think?