For former UFC light heavyweight champion Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, the desire to continue competing comes from one basic feeling: his push to wear gold once more.
Rua will return to action for the first time since a knockout loss to Dan Henderson in December at UFC Fight Night 56 in November vs. Jimi Manuwa. Days later, the Brazilian will turn 33 years old, but he still has that push to reach the pinnacle of the sport once more.
“My great dream is to become UFC champion again,” said Rua, during a recent interview with MMAjunkie.com. “I know it’s worthless to be thinking about right now. My main objective is my next fight, as it should be. You’ve got to take it one fight at a time and win your fights.
“That’s where I focus, is on the next challenge ahead.”
Rua (22-9) will be facing a fighter with just one career loss in Manuwa (14-1) on November 8 from Brazil. Since his title-fight victory over Lyoto Machida in 2010, Rua has gone just 3-5, including stoppage losses to Henderson, Chael Sonnen and Jon Jones.
And while Manuwa could be considered “just a kid” compared to Rua, the former champion knows he presents a stiff challenge.
“He’s a dangerous fighter, and his muay Thai is very good,” Rua said. “But this is a good match up for me. His game is good for my muay Thai. We both go for the knockout. The sooner the better.”
Rua, also a former Pride Middleweight Grand Prix champion, has won three “Fight of the Night” honors and three more “Knockout of the Night” bonuses, including one when he stopped James Te-Huna last year.