"I tried to find guys that were Gustafsson's size and shape, and that's it," he told MMAjunkie.com (MMAjunkie.com
). "We are ready for Saturday."
And while the UFC now says the winner of the fight will get a shot at the title, Rua said he doesn't care whether he gets a chance to win back the belt.
"It doesn't matter," he said. "It's the decision of the UFC or (UFC President) Dana White. I try to do my best, and the decision about the future is in the UFC's hands, especially Dana White's hands."
White made the title-eliminator announcement at a pre-event press conference for UFC on FOX 5, which takes place Saturday at KeyArena in Seattle. Rua vs. Gustafsson serves as the event's FOX-televised co-headliner following prelims on FX and Facebook.
Rua, a Brazilian veteran, appeared unfazed by his 25-year-old opponent or the stakes of the fight. He got misty-eyed, however, when he was asked whether he missed the soccer kicks that defined his earlier career in the now-defunct PRIDE organization.
"I hope one day the UFC allows stomps," he said with a smile. "The sport's changed a lot, the rules. It's uncertainty every day. You try to make things better and improve, so everything in our lives changes."
Injuries have defined Rua's latter career. Multiple knee surgeries and slugfests with such fighters as Dan Henderson have prompted questions that he might be slowing down. In his most recent fight, which came against Brandon Vera at UFC on FOX 4, he admitted to tiring and said fans would see better from him in his next outing.
Rua, who won the UFC title at UFC 113 and lost it to Jon Jones at UFC 128, said a group of Gustafsson clones helped him get in tiptop shape for Saturday's fight. He said he is used to fighting opponents as big as the 6-foot-5 Swede.
Fans certainly hope to see Rua return to form. Fans warmly received him during an open workout in support of the event. Rua said he's ready to give them a show.
"I trained for this fight a long time," he said. "Gustafsson is a good boxer; he's good at moving in the octagon. I trained for people with a very similar style."