Despite calls for retirement, former Pride and UFC champion Shogun Rua isn’t ready to call it quits just yet, UFC Tonight confirmed on Wednesday. In Rua’s last outing in March, he was knocked out in devastating fashion by Dan Henderson in the third round after almost finishing the American on multiple occasions in a dominant first two rounds for Rua.
Winning just four of his last ten including three losses in his last four, Shogun has struggled to re-find championship form and hinted at a possible move down to middleweight in the past. Just 32 – relatively young for a fighter on such a skid – he has no intentions of making the move down to 185lbs just yet, and wants to make his return to the Octagon in September when the UFC make their return to Japan.
After successful events in the last two years, the UFC will host the Fight Night 52 card at Saitama Super Arena in Tokyo. With heavyweight sluggers Mark Hunt and Roy Nelson set to headline the card, former Pride fighters in the aforementioned Rua and heavyweight contender Alistair Overeem have announced their intentions to get booked for the card.
Shogun received a broken nose in his loss to Henderson and has now slipped down the rankings to #8 after winning the light heavyweight title back in May 2010, losing the belt in his first defence to current champion Jon Jones in March 2011. Since that loss, Rua has failed to put together consecutive wins and has gone just 3-4.
His stunning knockout over James Te Huna gave the Brazilian a lifeline and he looked impressive in the opening two rounds of his rematch with Dan Henderson in March, though the H-Bomb claimed another victim in the third round of that tilt.
Potential opponents for Rua’s return include the loser of the upcoming fight between Ryan Bader and Rafael Feijao, Anthony Perosh or Fabio Maldonado.