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Arona Says He Rejected Strikeforce Offer and That He’s Targeting an Early 2012 Return…For Real

(Arona’s finally ready to put down the surfboard.)

Ricardo Arona has been pledging a return to action pretty much every year since his last bout in 2009 against Marvin Eastman at Bitetti Combat 4, but has failed to deliver on the promise. According to the former Rings middleweight champion and former PRIDE standout, by “this year” he actually meant “next year,” meaning 2012. If the world doesn’t end like some whack jobs believe it will, Arona says we can expect to see him make his triumphant return.

In an interview he did recently with Globo, “The Brazilian Tiger” says the reason he’s had to push back his MMA return was that life got in the way, but that he’s had no shortage of offers from promotions.

“I went back to prepare myself physically and to finish building a training center in my house in Niterói. It’s pretty big and full. I want to return early next year. First I want to be ready to compete in anything, God willing,” Arona explains. “My goal is to do that, no doubt. I received an invitation from Strikeforce and several national events, but did not close anything. I’m hoping to be ready to return.”

I bet he’s kicking himself for not taking the Strikeforce offer now that the promotion is owned by Zuffa. Although he didn’t mention if he’s had any further discussions with the UFC, tou would think that would be something he’d mention if it was happening. Whatever the case, Arona pegs his return date somewhere around February or March if all goes well with the final preparations of his gym.

“My Training Center is almost ready. It has a huge mat space. I put a ring, functional training room, weight room, physiotherapy room. The place is great. It should be ready in no more than two months and after that with three months of training I’ll be ready for everything,” he estimates. “I will form a team. After putting the team together we will structure it with good coaches. But I still have no names of teachers. I will invite a bunch of coaches to join the team.”

If you had a keen eye during the UFC 134 broadcast, you may have noticed that Arona was part of Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira‘s entourage during his walkout for his fight with Brendan Schaub. A longtime friend of “Minotauro” since before both of them fought for PRIDE, he says that Nogueira’s bout was the one he looked forward to most on the card.

“Minotauro was 100% ready for the UFC Rio show and he entered the event with lots of preparation,” he says. “It was the most anticipated fight for me.”

Injecting Arona into the UFC’s light heavyweight division could add some intrigue, or if he isn’t prepared because of years of inactivity, it could mean the end of another PRIDE star’s career. Let’s hope it’s the former.

Cagepotato Comments

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XENOPHON- September 7, 2011 at 1:17 am
Absent the soccer kicks to the head and the rouge head slam, Arona is in top shape for his 33 year old age, and should fair well with the softer rules.
Reading above, the mindset with thinking the UFC is the only place Arona can go is not only foolish it's a sign of the lack of thought by the self appointed MMA subject matter experts.
There is Bellator, ONE FC, and Pro-Elite - each with funding from deep pockets. Only the fool would would to limited MMA to one single sham organization managed by Zuffa and the $500 million in debt they carry on the books.
Todd M- September 6, 2011 at 10:00 pm
Bwahahaha, comments are firing today, Pen 15, El Guapo, RWR and Get OFF Me all FTW. Dude picked a funny time in his career to have a mid life crisis, I don't know how much left he would have in him, Also didnt Dana say he wasn't interested in him 3 years ago? I doubt Arona Hanging 10 in Barra (surfers still say that don't they?) will heighten big DW's interest.
Get Off Me- September 6, 2011 at 5:42 pm
This guy looks like he was dropped on his head as a kid.
RwilsonR- September 6, 2011 at 12:55 pm
Hey, it's that guy who handed Fedor his first real loss back in Rings, except they used crazy rules to determine who won the decision. It's too bad the sport passed him by, what with all their steroid testing, and whatnot.
El Guapo- September 6, 2011 at 12:54 pm
El Guapo- September 6, 2011 at 12:52 pm
An axe-... idental... headbutt.
El Guapo- September 6, 2011 at 12:49 pm
Yeeaaaahhhhh, that's... how... he... knocked... him out.
Fedor Penn- September 6, 2011 at 12:23 pm
If you don't know who this guy is then you are probably a newer fan to MMA.
BBQ Show- September 6, 2011 at 12:21 pm
Rampage knocked Arona out with an accidental headbutt on that one tho..
Cheeseburger Eddie- September 6, 2011 at 11:31 am
the Rampage powerbomb is still my favorite KO of all time, so much better than Hughes/Newton
El Guapo- September 6, 2011 at 11:14 am
Arona's the guy Rampage piledrived/powerslammed/almost killed in Pride back in the day. Also, for good meause, he's also the guy who's head Shogun mistook as a futball.... ball.
BBQ Show- September 6, 2011 at 10:54 am
What did Arona steal your girlfriend or something?
Pen Fifteen- September 6, 2011 at 10:42 am
Oh, I remember, he's the guy who beat Wanderlei Silva by LNP, back when that was an accomplishment, and then went on to help launch the Sokodjou myth with his glass chin.
Pen Fifteen- September 6, 2011 at 10:39 am