Shogun Rua vs. James Te Huna

UFC superstar Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua is headed Down Under — combining with eight of Australia’s most promising fighters for a huge summer of Mixed Martial Arts.

The Daily Telegraph can reveal Rua, the former light heavyweight world champion, will join fellow Brazilian hero Antonio ‘Bigfoot’ Silva on the UFC Fight Night card scheduled for December 7 at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre.

In a huge boost for the sport Down Under, the South American duo will both be up against Australians, with Rua set to face Penrith star James Te Huna while Silva will have top billing in his bout with cult Sydney heavyweight Mark Hunt.

After headlining a UFC Fight Night against American Chael Sonnen in August, which he lost via submission, 31-year-old Rua signed off on the Australian bout early yesterday morning as 70 of the country’s elite fighters converged on the UFC Gym in Alexandria, trialling for a place on the next instalment of reality TV series The Ultimate Fighter.

Jon Jones throws a knee at Mauricio “Shogun” Rua during their light-heavyweight championship bout at UFC 128 in 2011 in Newark, New Jersey. Picture: UFC

A chaotic swirl of tattooed arms and cauliflowered ears — plus one unmistakable fluorescent green mowhawk, courtesy of fighter Dean Purdon — the group spent the day locked in a series of top secret tryouts, with the chosen eight set to be unveiled later in the year.

Airing on FX in January, the TUF series will pit eight Australians and eight Canadians in something like a bloodier version of Big Brother, with the winner gifted a UFC contract and the potential to earn a six-figure salary.

james te huna vs shogun rua