- UFC 134
Jon Jones is the best I've ever faced - Shogun
Shogun lost his 205lb belt to Jones at UFC 128, suffering a third-round TKO as the American stamped his mark over the light-heavyweight terrain.
In an illustrious career that has seen Shogun win the Pride Middleweight Grand Prix as well as UFC gold, the Brazilian has fought a who's who of MMA's biggest names. Brutal victories over the likes of Rampage Jackson, Alistair Overeem, and Lyoto Machida have ensured Shogun's place as a future legend of the sport, but Rua places the name of Jones above all his previous rivals.
Asked by ESPN if Jones is the toughest fighter he has ever fought, Shogun replied: "Yes, I think so.
"After the Jon Jones fight I gave it a lot of thought, I reflected a lot, I thought about my training... everything. I came to some conclusions, but I don't want to take anything away from Jones, he's a good fighter.
"I have given it a lot of thought though because I hope to fight him again one day."
After that sole defeat to Jones, Shogun now finds himself back where his UFC career started, fighting Forrest Griffin, whom he faced on UFC debut. The likes of Machida and Jackson are above Rua in the pecking order, regardless of his previous victories over them, but he remains calm despite being written off in certain quarters of the MMA world.
"I'm used to that [lack of respect] already, ever since I started in MMA it has always happened. I don't really care, I'm used to that and I have to be focused," said Rua.
"Those kind of things cannot hinder me, it's part of the game."