The following is a transcript of a brief on-the-record conversation with MMANews.com's own Chris Howie and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua's marketing advisor Julio Heller, discussing a number of topics related to Shogun's UFC debut loss and knee injuries.
JULIO HELLER INTERVIEW (Sept. 27, 2007)
Chris Howie of MMANews.com: This is Chris Howie with MMANews.com and today I am speaking with the Marketing Advisor and our good friend to Chute Boxe – Julio Heller. How are you today Julio?
Julio Heller: I'm doing good Chris, thanks. How are you?
MMANews.com: I'm doing well, thanks for taking a few minutes out and speaking with me.
Julio Heller: No Problem.
MMANews.com: How is Shogun feeling since his fight last weekend [at UFC 76]?
Julio Heller: He is very sad and is recognizing that he may not have trained the necessary time he should have. He is very disappointed and realizes that this was a missed opportunity.
MMANews.com: Did the transition from ring to cage have any affect on him in your opinion?
Julio Heller: No, I do not believe so.
MMANews.com: There have been reports of a torn ligament in Shogun's knee. Is there any truth to these reports and was dropping the fight with Forrest ever considered?
Julio Heller: Yes, there is truth to this. In the final month before the fight, during a training session Shogun injured his knee. It is important for everyone to know that this is not an excuse for the loss.
MMANews.com: I can imagine it was important to Shogun to fight in front of the UFC fans.
Julio Heller: Yes, it was very important to him. I have an opinion about this injury though and that is after the injury in the fight with Mark Coleman, Shogun came back better than ever and was training harder and more focused. We'll see what happens once he is healed from this.
MMANews.com: During the post-fight press conference Dana White said: “…maybe we'll do Chuck Liddell vs. Shogu.” Is this something that would interested Shogun?
Julio Heller: It is too early to say. Also during the conference, Dana said that they have four of the top Light Heavyweight's in the world in Shogun, Wanderlei [Silva], Chuck, and Rampage [Jackson] and that they can mix them up so we will have to see what happens.
MMANews.com: When can we expect to see “Ninja” [Rua] back in the cage?
Julio Heller: “Ninja” will be fighting in November.
MMANews.com: Has an opponent been named for him yet?
Julio Heller: No, not yet.
MMANews.com: How is he feeling since his fight with [Robbie] Lawler?
Julio Heller: He trained hard but did not do so well in the fight. Lawler was bigger and much stronger but he will be back.
MMANews.com: What are Shogun's plans?
Julio Heller: He will have surgery on his knee and then be off for three months, as you guys accurately reported yesterday. He will start training again in January and he will be fighting again sometime in 2008.
MMANews.com: Ok Julio, Thanks for the time.
Julio Heller: Thank you.