UFC 104: "The Dragon" Faces "Shogun"
With All Other Potential Contenders Locked Up, "Shogun" Faces What Could Be His Greatest Challenge
It seems that timing is everything, and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua’s time has come.
With Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and “Sugar” Rashad Evans coaching the next season of “The Ultimate Fighter” and Forrest Griffin set to take on Middleweight kingpin Anderson “The Spider” Silva, current Light Heavyweight Champion Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida was left wondering who the first challenger to his championship would be. During the finale of Season 9 of “The Ultimate Fighter”, UFC President Dana White gave the champion an answer.
That answer was Shogun, and the fight is slated to take place on October 24 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles as the main event for UFC 104.
“The Dragon” has long been criticized for being an overly-defensive fighter that would rather evade and wait than stand and strike. Many fight fans against Machida sum him up in one word: boring.
Those against “Shogun” extend that word-count to three when summing up his main problem: past his prime.
And both men have taken large strides in erasing those criticisms.
Lyoto Machida, to his credit, is coming off of vicious back-to-back knockouts on Thiago Silva and “Sugar” Rashad Evans. Not only was this the first time Rashad had ever been knocked out, it was the first time he had ever lost, period.
After numerous brutal beatdowns in PRIDE FC, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua was quickly becoming one of the most-feared Light Heavyweights in the world. “Shogun” seemed to mirror PRIDE in its collapse, as he started an eventual downward slide that has only just ended. Coming off of a loss to Forrest Griffin and a win against Mark Coleman, both of which saw “Shogun” gassed before the second round and neither of which really displayed his skills, Rua promptly rebounded and sent popular UFC legend Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell into retirement with one of his best performances in years.
Will the “Machida Era” be cut short by the crafty veteran, or will Lyoto continue his winning ways? Either man poses interesting threats to each other, and to everyone else in the star-studded UFC Light Heavyweight Division. Fans will have to wait until the end of October to see if Lyoto will continue his undefeated reign of dominance, or if he will become the third straight UFC Light Heavyweight Champion to lose his championship in his first defense.