There are indications that Ricardo Arona, once considered a consensus top ten light heavyweight, could be on the verge of ending his extended hiatus from competitive mixed martial arts.
Arona has not competed since April 8, 2007, when he suffered an upset loss against Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou during PRIDE’s final show after being knocked out at just 1:59 of round 1.
Considered one of the best pure grapplers in MMA at 205 pounds, Arona is believed to be drawing interest from Affliction Entertainment.
According to a recent article at GracieMag.com, interim UFC heavyweight champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira is quoted as saying that Affliction has sent out feelers for Arona.
“It’s not just Brazilian fans who are looking forward to a return from Arona,” Nogueira is quoted as saying. “The folks at Affliction have already sent a message through my brother Rogerio. ‘We would like to hire Arona, we want to see him fighting in our events, you may tell him that – we want to negotiate with Arona now.'”
Arona is 13-5 in his professional MMA career with notable wins over Wanderlei Silva, Alistair Overeem, Murilo “Ninja” Rua, Dan Henderson, Jeremy Horn, Dean Lister and Kazushi Sakuraba. If signed by Affliction, he would join a light heavyweight division that includes Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, Vladimir Matyushenko, Mike Whitehead, and Renato “Babalu” Sobral.