Gian Villante is preparing to face former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Mauricio “Shogun” Rua at UFC Fight Night 106.
The New York born light heavyweight doesn’t just want to fight Shogun, he wants to party with the Brazilian star.
“He’s a guy I’ve looked up to for a long time, since I started fighting,” Villante said to MMA Junkie. “He’s not that much older than me (Rua is 35, while Villante is 31), surprisingly, but I’ve watched him fight since I can remember. I just think ‘Shogun’ is a legend. Name-wise, (he’s) probably the biggest name in the division, I think. Besides maybe (ex-champ Jon) Jones. It’s awesome. And I just think of it as more of a fun thing to go in there and be able to party with the guy.”
Villante will be competing in Brazil for the first time in nearly three years, he last competed in the country at UFC Fight Night 38, where he lost to Fabio Maldonado.
The light heavyweight contender needs to beat the MMA legend this March, but he does respect the man as well.
“First of all, he’s a legend,” Villante said. “Second of all, his style. Just his style, I think makes a perfect fight for me. They did a smart one, the UFC, making us fight each other. Because I just think both of us love war, love getting punched in the face and punching other people in the face. I know I’m going to go in there and probably come home with a couple of black eyes, but I don’t mind that. I think that’s the great part about it, the beauty of it. It’s going to be a fun, fun fight.”
UFC Fight Night 106 takes place on Saturday, March 11 from the Centro de Formacao Olimpica do Nordeste in Fortaleza, Brazil with Kelvin Gastelum and Vitor Belfort headlining, the main card airs live on Fox Sports 1.