James Te-Huna – “I Want Shogun”
When “Men In Black” blared over the sound system at the Wembley Arena and James Te-Huna started his entrance for his fight with Ryan Jimmo dressed in a black suit and dancing, you kind of got the feeling that something special was going to take place inside the Octagon.
Fans worldwide were not disappointed as Te-Huna and Jimmo put on a hell of a fight which saw Te-Huna overcome adversity in a big way in the first round and hand Jimmo his second career loss, which was his first loss in six years.
Although somewhat disappointed with how the fight played out, Te-Huna was happy with the end result. “This is the first time I have come out of a fight without hurting my hand,” he laughed. Although physically, Te-Huna came out of the fight relatively unscathed, mentally things were completely different for the heavy hitter. “I had a ton of excuses going in there,” he explained, “I really expected to get knocked out. I didn’t have a great camp and I just lacked that killer instinct. When I got hit with that head kick I was embarrassed and I knew I needed to do something.” Te-Huna bounced back in rounds two and three of the fight and went on to secure a unanimous decision victory which saw him extend his UFC record to five wins with just one loss.
As it usually does after a fight, a question presented itself, what happens next?
Wasting no time, Te-Huna has gone to social media in an attempt to secure a big name fight and has openly called out MMA legend, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua. “It’s not something I usually do,” he explained, “I don’t think I have ever really directly called someone out in the UFC before but I think it’s time I say something so I am not given a lesser opponent again.” It could be said that Rua is an obscure choice of a match-up, however it’s probably one of the best pairings on paper in the Light Heavyweight division, with Shogun coming off a loss to the only fighter that has beaten Te-Huna in the Octagon.
“There are three main fighters who aren’t really matched at the moment. There’s Shogun, Rashad and Nogueira,” Te-Huna started, “I just wanted to go for the guy at the top,” he laughed. Although Rua is the fight that Te-Huna really wants, it’s not all about him, in his eyes, the fans want to see exciting fights and they want to see fighters who will give it their all inside the Octagon, and he was open to taking whatever fight came in front of him. “I will fight any of them but really I think that Shogun would be the best fight for the fans, and the one that they would want to see the most. We both fight an exciting fight and we both love to put on a show.”
Having won four fights in a row in the Octagon, Te-Huna sees now as the best opportunity to keep the ball rolling, “I have a lot of momentum now and I want to keep that rolling into a big fight. I haven’t had a big test in the Octagon since Gustafsson and that was over two years ago, I think I am ready for a test and ready for a big fight.”
Although unsuccessful, Te-Huna has previously campaigned to be given a bigger name opponent but this is the first time he has directly called out another fighter. “I don’t know what I have to do,” he explained, “maybe if I start some shit on the ‘net like Chael I will get a big fight,” he laughed, “I think I have done enough to show what I can do in there and it’s time for me to step up in competition.” As for where this fight would take place, Te-Huna was open to anything, “as long as it’s the right amount of preparation I will fight anytime, I don’t care. I would love to fight Shogun in Australia but wherever the UFC wants me to fight, I will fight. I would love to get that big name fight at home but in the end, I just want that big fight.”
When asked if his age was a consideration as to why he has suddenly become so vocal, Te-Huna laughed “yeah I think I am kind of like a fine wine, just getting better with age. I will fight whoever they put in front of me but in this sport anything can happen so I don’t want to waste time. I just think I am in a good position where I can take advantage of where I am and I need to do something, instead of sitting back and watching what happens.”
The support that Te-Huna has outside of the cage is very important to him, his valued sponsors such as PC Group, Boost Mobile, Phil’s Fitness & Bodybuilding, Competitive Edge and Shogun Martial Arts help him live the dream of being a professional fighter. Not only does Te-Huna want to secure this big fight for the fans, but also the people who have invested their time and effort into him.
Whilst fight campaigning isn’t always successful, rest assured, no matter who Te-Huna is matched with next he has vowed to never again be in the position that he was in against Ryan Jimmo and no matter who we see the explosive Light Heavyweight get into the cage with, you can guarantee that it will be another fight to remember!