Former UFC light heavyweight champion Mauricio “Shogun” Rua said he is considering dropping down to middleweight following his fight with James Te Huna at UFC Fight Night 33 next month.
Since losing the light heavyweight title to Jon Jones at UFC 128 in March 2011, the 32-year-old Brazilian has lost three of his last five fights, including back-to-back losses to Alexander Gustafsson and Chael Sonnen. Gustafsson defeated Rua by unanimous decision at UFC on Fox: Henderson vs. Diaz on December 8, 2012, and Sonnen claimed a first-round submission victory over the former champion at UFC Fight Night: Shogun vs. Sonnen on August 17.
After his loss to Sonnen, Rua said he wanted to become world champion again, and that only he knew when he would stop fighting.
Rua currently walks around at about 228 pounds, dropping about 23 pounds for his fights. To fight at middleweight, he would have to drop another 20 pounds.
“It might happen, but for now I have a fight scheduled,” Rua said at a recent fan Q&A in Brazil. “I would have to do some medical exams to check if it’s possible.”
Rua added, “Maybe I can (drop to 185) and maintain my performance. I would need to think about it, but that’s something that can happen.”
For now, Mauricio Rua is focusing on his upcoming fight against James Te Huna. Since making his promotional debut at UFC 110 in February 2010, the 32-year-old New Zealander has lost only two of seven fights — a rear-naked choke submission loss to Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 127 in February 2011, and a guillotine choke submission loss to Glover Teixeira at UFC 160 on May 25.
Rua said he doesn’t think he needs to beat Te Huna; he just needs to put on a good show.
“He’s an aggressive fighter and I know it will be tough,” Rua said. “I like this fight because of his style. I don’t think of this fight as definitive for my career. I have no obligation to win, only to do my best.”
Ru added, “This fight is going to be difficult, the guy is good in boxing, and I will have to fight my best to leave the cage as the winner. My focus only is training and evolving. As long as my body is good, I will be fighting.”
If Shogun does make the move to middleweight, he’ll join countryman and fellow former light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida, who defeated Mark Munoz by first-round KO in his 185 pound debut at UFC Fight Night: Machida vs. Munoz last month.