Mauricio “Shogun” Rua has been asking the UFC for another opponent with Rampage Jackson on the shelf with knee surgeries. Shogun desperately wants to fight at UFC 147 in Rio, Brazil. Dana White mentioned this week that Dan Henderson turned down a rematch with Shogun electing to wait for a title shot against the Jon Jones/ Rashad Evans winner. With many of the light heavyweights already signed for fights, there are not a lot of options for Shogun. A possible opponent could be Lyoto Machida who recently lost a title fight to Jon Jones in December. Shogun/ Machida 3 would make the most sense since both are coming off of losses and want to settle the score between them. Machida has a unanimous decision win over Shogun, while Shogun has a KO victory over Machida. It seems at this point, many of the light heavyweight contenders are Brazilian. As such, the UFC may not want to match two Brazilians together. Think Antonio Rogerio Nogueira or Thiago Silva if he can get past Alexander Gustafsson. Perhaps even Gustafsson himself would make a good opponent since his star is rising like Jon Jones last year. But, a quick turn around for Gustafsson and Silva might rule them out since they are fighting in April and would have to be ready in June. The only other option for Shogun could be former lightweight contender Phil Davis. Davis is coming off a loss against Rashad Evans and is looking to patch some holes in his game. He might be reluctant to take the fight since he is coming off a loss and has to fight Shogun in his own backyard. As such, the best option for Shogun would be Lyoto Machida.
Update 4/30/2012: Shogun will not be facing Lyoto Machida in Brazil in June after all. Dana White confirmed that Shogun will be facing Thiago Silva at UFC 149 which is being headlined by Jose Aldo although an opponent has not been named. Both Shogun and Silva are coming off of losses. Shogun lost a war to Dan Henderson in November of last year and has not fought since. Not sure how the time off will affect him but considering the beating he took against Henderson, the time off might have helped. Silva recently lost a unanimous decision to Alexander Gustafsson. Silva admitted he had trouble finding his range against Gustafsson. Ring rust may have been a factor. Regardless, both Brazilians will be looking to get back into the win column in Calgary.
Update 6/1/2012: There are reports Thiago Silva suffered another back injury that caused him to miss most of 2010. Silva will not be able to meet Shogun Rua at UFC 149 in Canada. Several names have surfaced including Glover Texeira who recently defeated Kyle Kingsbury at UFC 146 last weekend. Texeira’s management has confirmed interest from both sides. Alexander Gustafsson’s people have said they have not been contacted. UFC 146 is July 21 in Calgary, Canada headlined by Jose Aldo and Erik Koch.
Update 6/3/2012: There is a little bit of confusion surrounding Shogun’s next opponent. Dana White claims Shogun and his people turned down the Glover Texeira fight. Shogun and his people claim they have not been told officially that Thiago Silva is injured and so they have not accepted Texeira as a replacement. I am not sure what to believe but the truth is probably some where in the middle. Texeira is a star that is highly respected in MMA circles, many expect him to rise quickly in the rankings with each fight he takes. I don’t know if that has any clout in Shogun’s decision.
Update 6/6/2012: Shogun will now be facing Brandon Vera. The fight will now be moved to the main event of UFC on FOX 4 in Los Angeles, CA. Lyoto Machida vs Ryan Bader will be the co-main event, I expect Shogun and Machida to pair up if both should win to be coaches on season 2 of TUF Brazil and complete their trilogy.