Mauricio "Shogun" Rua taking his upcoming fight with Brandon "The Truth" Vera to the mat?
Throw that thought away if you're a fan of the 30-year-old Brazilian chute boxe standout.
Rua, the former UFC light heavyweight champ, is making no secret of his desire to stand toe-to-toe and trade blows with his upcoming opponent, in an apparent effort to showcase his crowd-pleasing "brawler" style to a national audience.
In an interview for Brazil's Portal do Vale Tudo, Rua was asked "Brandon Vera is a striker. It's going to be a standing up fight, right?"
He responded "Yes. Brandon Vera is a famous name in the UFC. He likes to fight standing and I like it, too. The fans also like it, so it's going to be a good fight for sure."
In my view, it's not all that surprising that Rua expects to keep the fight standing, as he does with most of his fights.
What I found interesting about his comments, however, was his decision to reveal his gameplan with over a month left before the fight. Now Vera has even less of a reason to spend time sharpening his skills on the mat, fighting off his back and working on his submissions.
If he knows for sure that Rua wants to keep it standing, all he has to do is focus on his boxing and leg kicks.
Additionally, Rua made some odd comments about his decision to take on Vera instead of Glover Teixeira, the opponent Dana White and the UFC wanted him to fight.
"[The UFC] offered Glover for us," Rua said. "I talked with my team and we decided Glover would not be interesting now. "Glover is a top fighter. I know him and respect him, but he just got into the UFC. He has one fight in the UFC. He needs to get more fights. I had nothing to gain with that fight."
Rua's decision to pass up on Teixeira was a bit perplexing. According to a BloodyElbow.com report, Teixeira is ranked as the No. 22 light heavyweight in the world, just one spot below Vera.
The UFC seems to frown on its fighters picking their own opponents, and favor guys who will step in against anyone the league's brass throws in their path. Rua essentially annoyed his bosses to fight a guy ranked just one spot higher on the consensus light heavyweight rankings.
It may be true that he didn't have much to gain by taking on Teixeira, but I don't see what he has to gain by fighting Vera, either. Rua should have either accepted the fight against Teixeira, or asked to take on a legitimate top five contender like Rashad Evans.
Eric Holden is a lifelong UFC fan and supporter of the sport of mixed martial arts. Follow him on Twitter @ericholden.
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