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‘Shogun’ Rua targets March return against ‘Rampage’ Jackson

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Mauricio Rua defeated Antonio Rogerio Nogueira in a long-awaited rematch at UFC 190, and he’s targeting another rematch with a different PRIDE veteran.

"Shogun" returned to the win column in a thrilling bout with "Minotouro" on Aug. 1, and now hopes to meet Quinton Jackson in the first quarter of 2015. Rua, who shocked the world in 2005 with a first-round knockout over "Rampage" in PRIDE, is down to fighting the fellow ex-UFC light heavyweight champion.

"I respect Rampage a lot, we always talk when we meet, but this is a fight that we both want," Rua told "The UFC wants it, fans want it as well. It’s inevitable. I just hope he’s free of his issues with Bellator. It would be nice to fight him again."

Rua and Jackson have gone different ways since fighting in Japan, but both ended up winning the 205-pound championship eventually. After a recent three-fight run in Bellator, "Rampage" returned to the UFC and beat Fabio Maldonado, while Rua went 4-5 since losing the UFC belt to Jon Jones in 2011.

"It’s been more than 10 years since that fight. His boxing is really great, as it already was in the past, so it’s going to be a tough fight," "Shogun" said of "Rampage". "Boxing is Rampage’s best weapon. He has a great boxing, with good uppercuts and hooks. He said multiple times he was hurt going into that fight, so he will have the chance to prove otherwise."

But even though Jackson is coming off four straight wins, "Shogun" says it doesn’t mean much.

"I think Bellator is in a different level, it’s not like the UFC. But I respect Rampage, for sure," he said. "If we fight again, I know it’s going to be a tough fight, so I will be prepare for everything."

The Brazilian underwent shoulder surgery after defeating "Minotouro" at the HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro, and plans on flying back to California to train in December.

"My shoulder is getting better," he said. "The doctor said I’ll probably be ready to train hard again in December, so I believe I will be fighting again around March or April. As soon as they clear me, I’ll go to the United States to train with Rafael Cordeiro."

With the UFC working on a soccer stadium show in Curitiba in March, "Shogun" would petition to be on that card.

"It would be a pleasure to fight in my hometown," he said. "It would be a dream come true to fight in Curitiba, where I lived my entire live. Curitiba deserves this big event."

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