First scheduled to fight Quinton Jackson and then Thiago Silva, injuries to both of those fighters means that the former light-heavyweight champion Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua now faces Brandon Vera at UFC on FOX 4, taking place in Calgary, Canada, on August 4th 2012.
The fight will be main event as Brian Stann, who was to face UFC debutant Hector Lombard, got injured. Shogun says he was ‘anxious and hesitant at the same time’ to face either of his first two scheduled opponents, as he believed neither would add much to his chances of getting a new title shot.
But he is delighted with the latest opponent.
“Brandon Vera is a very dangerous figher, has a sharpened Muay Thai and has already defeated great names inside the UFC. After so many changes, I hope I can train well focused on this opponent and I believe the fight will involve much trading on the feet, it should please all the fans,” he commented.
Mauricio has been training day after day in Curitiba, where he lives with his family. And he has been able to train alongside some familiar faces from the old days.
“I am taking advantage of Wanderlei Silva, who also is training with us here in Curitiba, for his fight at the end of June. We are in an intense rhythm. It is important that each one look to exploit the maximum of one another in the trainings,” he explains.
Since the beginning of the year, the athlete has changed the strategy of the planning of his career. Now he is 100% focused on the fight. Coach and friend Andre Dida is in charge for the preparation, the study of the adversary and the conduct of the sparrings.
"Shogun lives a very good new phase of his career, he is so much motivated and very focused. For this duel, we have new blood in the team. Serginho Moraes - three times BJJ world champion and TUF Brazil contestant - is the newest guy responsible for the ground training,” reveals Dida.
Having recently parted ways with long-time manager Eduardo Alonso, Rua’s ‘image management’ is now handled by Seven Entretenimento company and his legalities and general advice are undertaken by Julio Heller is the new manager of the former champion. Heller and Seven are responsible for social networking, public relationship, marketing and sponsorship captivation.
“All this change came to add into my career. I am very motivated because now there is a person responsible for each area and I have a lot of time to be focused on the fights,” said Shogun.