Ask an average MMA fan to compile a list of PRIDE’s top fighters and chances are Ricardo Arona’s name won’t be among them. Ask a more knowledgeable Mixed Martial Arts enthusiast and you’re likely to get a different answer.
The Brazilian was at one point considered to be among the best light heavyweights in the sport before taking a significant break due to injuries among other reasons. Prior to his hiatus from competition, Arona had beaten the likes of Wanderlei Silva, Dan Henderson, and Alistair Overeem. That being said, he has only fought once since being knocked out by Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou in April 2007, and has fallen into relative obscurity due to the infrequency of his in-ring appearances (only three since the end of 2005).
According to a conversation with Tatame, Arona hopes to change the latter in the coming months, and though he would prefer to test his skills in the UFC he understands he needs to win again, as he did in his most recent bout against journeyman Marvin Eastman in September 2009.
Arona stated he spoke to UFC President Dana White earlier this year who indicated another victory would be necessary before the promotion could considering signing him, saying of the situation, “I’d like to fight (for the) UFC. I feel like I’m ready for it, but if I have to fight again first, there’s no problem with that too.”
As far as when he’ll return to the ring, Arona said he has a few options out there for events in Brazil, like Bitetti Combat and a future “War on the Mainland” show, but is hoping to sign with an organization outside of his home-country. “I don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but I want to fight abroad, not in Brazil,” responded Arona when asked about what was next for him.
The 32-year old holds a record of 14-5 with three of the losses coming in his last five bouts. In addition to wins over the afore-mentioned opponents, Arona has claimed victories over Murilo “Ninja” Rua and Kazushi Sakuraba, as well as holds a pair of wins against Jeremy Horn. However, he is probably best known for a loss he incurred after being on the wrong-end of a Quinton “Rampage” Jackson powerbomb at a PRIDE event in 2004.