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“Shogun” Rua focused on gold but not overlooking Dan Henderson

Mauricio “Shogun” Rua respects Dan Henderson, but the former UFC light heavyweight champ knows that to get back in the title talk he must defeat the affable Californian later today at UFC 139.

“Shogun” was nearly matched up with Henderson while the two were part of PRIDE in Japan a few years ago, and Henderson even fought Rua’s brother, Murilo Rua, in 2001.

“I always admired Dan Henderson as a great fighter. When I started to make a name for myself in PRIDE, people always talked about this fight taking place, and we both entered the Grand Prix tournament in 2005, where we could have met in the second round,” said Rua, in a recent interview with the UFC’s website. “Later on, when he got the (middleweight) belt from my former teammate Wanderlei Silva, I was next in line to challenge him for the belt, but PRIDE collapsed, so that never happened. I am glad we are finally having the chance to fight, as it’s a privilege to fight legends.”

Rua lost the UFC 205-pound title to Jon Jones earlier this year and is hoping that a strong showing over Henderson will place him back near the front of the line to get a rematch. Comparably, Henderson is returning to the UFC after winning the Strikeforce light heavyweight title and then taking out longtime legend Fedor Emelianenko in July.

“It would mean the world,” Rua said of returning to golden glory. “It (regaining the title) is my long-term goal, but my focus now is to beat Dan Henderson, which is a tough task in itself. After that, I’ll think of what’s next and talk to my manager and the UFC about it.”

Rua-Henderson is the main event of UFC 139 with other bouts on the PPV card include Silva vs. Cung Le and Urijah Faber vs. Brian Bowles.


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