No sooner than when a fighter wraps up a fight are his future possible opponents are already being lined up.
This past weekend (Aug. 4, 2012) at UFC on Fox 4, a light heavyweight title shot was on the line for the four men who were involved in the night's main and co-main events. When it was all said and done, Lyoto Machida emerged the victor of the 205-pound title shot with his impressive first round knockout of Ryan Bader. "The Dragon" will now face the winner of the upcoming title fight fight between current champion Jon Jones and number one contender Dan Henderson at UFC 151 on Sept. 1, 2012, in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Mauricio Rua came in a close second as he, too, finished his opponent, Brandon Vera, though he needed four rounds to complete his objective as "The Truth" proved to be a much more formidable opponent than many gave him credit for. It was a valiant effort from Vera, but ultimately, the seasoned veteran "Shogun" proved too much for the Filipino-American.
We know who "The Dragon's" next opponent will be, but what about Rua's?
Names such as Alexander Gustafsson and Rashad Evans have been thrown around, but one other 205-pound competitor also wants to throw his name in the hat: Antonio Rogerio Nogueira.
Speaking to Brazilian news outlet Tatame, "Lil' Nog" expressed his desire to face "Shogun," as well as potentially coach against him in The Ultimate Fighter (TUF):
"I would love to, it'd be awesome... A dream. It would be very good to me and it would be a rematch of 2005's fight, which is something people wanna see. If I have a chance to coach the guys at TUF and also fight him, it would be amazing. Rodrigo learned a lot from TUF. He learned more about being a coach and how to make the team united and gathered. On the United States he's seen by many as the best coach the show ever had and he got even more famous after the show."
After bowing out of his proposed fight against the aforementioned Gustafsson because of injury, which was set for UFC on Fuel TV in Sweden, the younger of the Nogueira brothers says he is back to training again and should be cleared to fight in a matter of three months:
"Man, I'm back. I started training this week and I'm training Boxing, Jiu-Jitsu... I just need to train Wrestling more because I'm learning the positions and I gotta earn confidence on it. I believe in three month I can fight again."
Machida and Rua were widely believed to be the next coaches of the next installment of TUF: "Brazil," but seeing as how Lyoto has now secured himself a shot at reclaiming UFC gold, a stint on TUF wouldn't make much sense.
"Lil' Nog" and Rua have a bit of history on their side as the two Brazilians met inside the Pride FC ring seven years ago at "Pride Critical Countdown 2005" in what was truly an epic back-and-forth scrap that saw both fighters have their shining moments.
In the end, Rua emerged victorious with a unanimous decision victory and proceeded to defeat Alistair Overeem and Ricardo Arona on his way to capturing the promotion's Middleweight Grand Prix title.
Now seven years later, a bout between the two will surely produce the same exciting results as their initial encounter given their preference to stand-and-bang, despite both having black belts in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Rua has already been involved a in two consecutive all-out wars with "Hendo" and "The Truth," a fight against "Lil' Nog" would likely make it three in a row.