March 11th will see the return of former UFC light heavyweight champion and Pride legend Mauricio Rua to the Octagon. Facing Gian Villante at the UFC Fight Night 107 card in Brazil, fight fans haven't seen “Shogun” Rua in action since his decision victory over Corey Anderson in May of 2016, at UFC 198.
Why has he been out so long?
"The focus was to fight in Brasilia in September, but I had a little tendinitis that didn’t let me train harder,” Rua said. "It was no big deal, but it was a bit painful. They asked me if I could fight in Sao Paulo (on Nov. 19), but I couldn't either. I’m 100 percent now. I’m training well, and ready to go."
Surprisingly, Rua's 2-fight win streak is his first since 2009, with victories over Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and Corey Anderson getting him back into the mix. With his current run of good form, the Brazilian is looking to mount a title challenge in the near future.
However, Rua’s focus is solely on his opponent, and not the UFC rankings.
"My biggest dream is the belt, but I’ve been through this experience before, and I know that if I think about the belt before fighting my next opponent, that might not get me motivated. I’m more experienced now, and I know I have to think about my next opponent. This is what motivates me."
UFC Fight Night 107 takes place on March 11, in Fortaleza, Brazil.