(Thumbs up for morphine.)
Dana White told MMAJunkie today that the UFC’s light heavyweight belt may be put on ice for a good portion of 2010 as champion Mauricio "Shogun" Rua recovers from a recent knee surgery to repair an injury incurred during his fight with Lyoto Machida at UFC 113 last month.
"He just got out of the hospital; it was a successful surgery," White said. "He had the surgery in [Los Angeles], and he’s going to be doing all his therapy in (Las) Vegas. So he’ll be in Vegas for the next five weeks."
Despite reports by MMA Live that the Universidade de Luta fighter had incurred the injury training for the bout, the UFC president asserts that the injury definitely happened during the fight.
Rua first injured his anterior cruciate ligament training for his fight with Forrest Griffin at UFC 76, and he blew out the ligament during the fight. The injury required surgery to correct and after rehabbing the lame leg for several months, he completely blew out his ACL while training. Another surgery and rehab regimen kept him on the sidelines until his UFC 93 bout with Mark Coleman nearly a year and a half after the fight with Griffin.
Hopefully his recovery goes more smoothly than the last time around or we may see an interim title bout or two before we see the Brazilian champion back in the Octagon. It would also be a shame to have him come back too early and put on a lackluster performance like he did against Griffin and Coleman, especially as a champion.
Unless your last name is Couture, ring rust can be a real bitch.
Just to give you some perspective on how long Rua could potentially be out of commission: UFC lightweight Joe Lauzon suffered a complete tear of his ACL in his Fight Night bout with Jeremy Stephens last February and didn’t fight for 11 months. Granted, Lauzon had a complete graft done to his ACL using a cadaver ligament, but chances are if Rua’s knee is as unstable and injury prone as it is, he may have required a similar surgery.
Although White’s statement that Shogun is only doing five weeks of therapy may be an indicator that the injury was a minor one or that it’s possibly not even related to his repeatedly troublesome joint, it could also be a red herring. In any case, Rashad Evans will likely have to wait for his promised shot at Rua’s belt until the champion recovers.