Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua was one of the main targets the UFC had in mind to step in to face Jon Jones at UFC 152, but the former champion turned down the opportunity and his manager has now explained the circumstances behind that decision.
“We were in Sao Paulo and my phone rang about midnight,” Rua’s manager Julio Heller explains. “It was Lorenzo’s (Lorenzo Fertitta is a partner in the UFC). Lorenzo was on another call, so I talked to him like half hour later. He offered me a rematch against Jon Jones because Lyoto had declined it and asked me to give him an answer in ten minutes. I hung up and Mauricio was there with me.
“We talked and called Dida in Curitiba and we got to a conclusion we should accept the rematch, but only if Shogun had a couple of months to train and it would mean a fight later in October or in November. I said that to Lorenzo but he said there was no time because Jon Jones’s fight is on September 22nd. Unfortunately, he couldn’t give us this time but he understood.
“Mauricio accepted at the time the new fight against Jon Jones. The ideal is a three-month camp but he said yes to a two-month camp fight. He wants to fight Jon Jones and it sucks it won’t happen now. But Mauricio’s shot will come.”
It’s a similar story to Lyoto Machida who was the UFC’s original choice to replace Dan Henderson, but he too wanted more time, requesting that they push the fight back to UFC 153 in October in his native Brazil.
“I want to serve the UFC and recapture the belt. I always respect my opponent,” Machida told MMAfighting of his decision. “For those reasons, I must prepare myself in the manner I believe in.”
Vitor Belfort was less cautious that his countrymen and his plea to the UFC to be granted the opportunity to fight Jones was accepted and he’ll now face him for the title in less than a month’s time.