Mauricio Rua holds an inconsistent UFC record of six wins and seven losses, but believes that a couple impressive victories could put him right back into title contention.
The former light heavyweight champion, who is the only fighter to win both UFC and PRIDE undisputed titles, wants to bounce back in the win column against Jimi Manuwa at UFC Fight Night 56 in Uberlandia, Brazil.
He won’t think about title fights before getting past "Poster Boy" on Nov. 8, but believes he could be two wins away from another title fight.
"I believe so, but I can’t think about it," Rua told MMAFighting.com. "I only think about winning my next fight. I have to focus only on my next fight, and not my next ones. If I start thinking about my next three fights, I might lose focus on my next one."
The Brazilian feels extra motivation headlining a UFC card for the eight time, but his record in those main event slots isn’t the best. Winner of two of his seven UFC main events, "Shogun" just wants to have his hands raised in Uberlandia.
"I want to win no matter how. I just want to win," he said. "I’m really happy to be doing another UFC main event. This is something that gives me an extra motivation. I’m really, really motivated."
Competing for the first time since undergoing a nose surgery, "Shogun" expects to perform better, and have a better cardio, after fixing a deviated septum.
"I can breathe way better now. I hope it helps me during the fight as well," Rua said. "I had a huge deviated septum, and I believe I will be better after this surgery.
"I slowly returned to training. I couldn’t spar, but I was able to train jiu-jitsu and other things, and I returned to training a long time ago."
Rua and Manuwa have a combined record of 32 knockout finishes in 36 professional victories, and that’s how the Brazilian expects the fight to play out in Brazil.
"He likes to keep it standing and strike, and so do I," he said. "He’s a good fighter, so it’s going to be an interesting fight for the fans. He definitely deserves my respect, but I’m getting ready to win."
All three of Manuwa’s TKO finishes in the UFC came with injuries he caused to his opponents, and "Shogun" is aware of his dangerous attacks.
"That’s something I look at," Rua said. "I have to be careful, but I will train a lot to stop that."