It doesn’t matter to Mauricio “Shogun” Rua who he defends his title against first. With the exception of good friend Wanderlei Silva, he’ll fight anyone. According to Dana White, the winner of the Rampage-Rashad fight will “probably” fight Rua first, however there’s still talk of Randy Couture getting the nod.
Shogun’s manager, Eduardo Alonso, told Sherdog.com that Couture could be next, and Shogun says he would be “very happy” to fight one of the sport’s icons. If not, that’s cool too, it doesn’t matter to him who he fights.
For me it doesn’t matter. I’ve heard a rumor that it could be Randy Couture… I think it’s between Randy, Rashad or Rampage…It would be a really tough fight, they are high level athletes and, for sure, the fights would be very tough… Now I’ll have to train even more…I leave it to Dana White to think about… I’m a professional fighter and I fight against whoever they want me to fight with.
Randy Couture still thinks he’s earned the right to be considered one of the top contenders, but doesn’t think a win against James Toney will help him get the title shot. Transcription via Fight Opinion:
“I don’t think it has anything to do with that. I don’t think that puts me into title contention. I don’t think it’s a title contending fight. … I think I’m already made my statement in the Light Heavyweight division as one of the #1 contenders. There’s a lot of tough guys in the Light Heavyweight division. I hope to get the nod and fight the winner of [the main event at UFC 113 — which was Shogun], but James Toney doesn’t help me get there. It’s just an interesting crossover fight.”
With a Machida-Evans rematch out of the picture, I say Randy’s chances are pretty bleak for the next title shot, unless of course the Rampage-Rashad winner is injured or goes off to make another movie.
By the way, Shogun confirmed he had the appendectomy seven weeks ago (!), and took two weeks off from training to recover. His doctor and Dana White told him not to fight, but he wasn’t worried, he already knew he was ready. What a badass.
Update: In a quick text message interview with Carmichael Dave, Dana was more definitive about the Rampage-Rashad winner getting the title shot.
The winner of the Rampage Jackson vs Rashad Evans fight will get the first shot at Shogun.