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UFC 134 Fight Card Breakdown: Mauricio 'Shogun' Rua Vs. Forrest Griffin

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When they first met in Mauricio "Shogun" Rua's UFC debut back in 2007, Forrest Griffin was seen as something of a sacrificial lamb to the man who'd dominated Pride's best of class 205lb division for two years. Shogun had been the champion-in-waiting since winning the Pride Middleweight (205lbs) Grand Prix in 2005.

Griffin, at the time a less than stellar 5-2 against UFC competition, was expected to be little more than a showcase opponent to introduce the mighty Shogun to UFC fans. Instead, Griffin seized on the opportunities presented by Shogun's injured knee and less than ideal conditioning to wear him down and choke him out in the third round.

It was the beginning of an improbable championship run for the popular Griffin as he seized the opportunity to take Quinton "Rampage" Jackson's title in his next fight. Shogun would have to wait until 2009 to get his title shot and it took two tries for him to dethrone Lyoto Machida. 

Shogun's reign was a brief one as Jon Jones caught him coming back from his 3rd knee surgery in 4 years and took the title. 

Now as we break down this fight it's much the same as it looked in 2007. On paper Rua has numerous advantages. An aggressive, go-for-broke standup game, good take downs and strong submission. But Griffin may have the same intangibles working for him he had back in the day. The biggest question mark is whether or not Griffin really wants the win. 

In his pre-fight interviews Griffin has been talking about the financial needs of his family, but he's also been pretty open about not having title ambitions at this point. 

Not knowing the status of Rua's conditioning coming into this bout, I can only guess that he'll be entering the Octagon in fighting trim. We'll find out Saturday.

Aspect Griffin Points Rua Advantage
Range Fighting

Boxing Sound Aggressive But Sloppy Griffin
Kickboxing Surprising Effective Rua
Wrestling Decent 1 Not Bad Rua
Clinch Fighting        
Dirty Boxing Decent 1 Mean Rua
Thai Clinch Effective 1 Vicious Rua
Throws/Trips Good 1 Very Good Rua
Ground Fighting

Positional Control Effective 1 Strong Rua
Scrambling Elusive 1 Dogged Griffin
Escapes Elusive 1 Houdini Rua
Submissions Surprising 1 Very Good Rua
Intangibles Apathetic? 1 Injured? ???
Overall Hanging On 8/2 Starting One More Run? Rua