Apparently, Shogun’s knee injury was more severe than previously thought. According to Fighters Only, he needed what it being described as a joint “reconstruction.”

Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua’s latest knee surgery involved a “significant” amount of work and was more like a “reconstruction” of the joint than a standard ligament-repair job, according to a source close to the UFC light-heavyweight champion.

In a text message sent to Fighters Only last night the source said that Rua’s knee has been troubling him for some time and had flared up in the training camp prior to his fight with Lyoto Machida at UFC 113, where Rua earned the belt.

Shogun is currently rehabbing the knee, which Dana White said was “coming along great.” The bad news is he’ll be out of commission for another eight months, which puts his return date sometime around March 2011 at the earliest.

Naturally, this raises two important questions. One, will the UFC book an interim title fight in the meantime? And two, when Shogun eventually returns, will we see the fighter who struggled against Forrest Griffin and Mark Coleman before and after previous knee surgeries, or will the champ who knocked out Chuck Liddell and Lyoto Machida return to defend his title?

Image via Tatame

Update: Zach Arnold has an update from Dave Meltzer on the light heavyweight division, specifically Rampage Jackson and Rashad Evans.

Dana White wanted to book Quinton “Rampage” Jackson vs. Lyoto Machida but Rampage turned the fight down because he was afraid it would be a boring fight. So, he wants a fight with Antonio Rogerio Nogueira. Rashad Evans doesn’t want to fight until he gets his title shot against Shogun, which could be in March. UFC would like Rashad to fight someone like Rogerio but Rashad’s not interested. Instead, Rampage will likely end up fighting Rogerio. Lost in all of this mayhem is the name Jason Brilz.

Update 2: Good news from Shogun’s manager, Eduardo Alonso. He says the recovery process is going better than expected and it’s possible Shogun could fight on the UFC’s Super Bowl weekend card in early February.

“Off the top of my head, I think of the Superbowl card in February, but this is something that could change depending on his recovery schedule and the UFC’s business schedule,” said Alonso. “But the way things are going right now, I can tell you that he’ll be ready sooner than expected.”

“We had options to do the surgery in many different places, but opted with the UFC’s advice to do it in Los Angeles with Dr. Kitvme,” said Alonso. “Honestly, I think it’s the best decision we’ve ever made.”

Following surgery, Rua traveled to Las Vegas and has spent the last four-and-a-half weeks in physical therapy with Alonso, Rua’s wife and his newborn daughter at his side.

Alonso said this recovery period has been the quickest of the three for an anxious Rua, who wanted to stop taking his pain medication a day after the surgery. Alonso praised the UFC for allotting its champion the time to heal without the pressure of committing to his next bout.

“Shogun is very happy, as he’s doing through a great moment in his life with (winning) the belt and the birth of his daughter,” said Alonso. “Mindset is very important for the recovery process, so we made sure he was comfortable. But he’s very anxious because he’s such an active guy. He has great genetics, so his recovery is going great. The challenge for us as a team has been to hold him back and make sure he takes his time.”

Rashad Evans says he’s in no rush. He can wait till next year if that’s how long it takes for Shogun to recover.