Hey Buzz Fans, I am adding a new piece to my Devil’s Advocate series called “Legends” that will take us back in time and pay respect to the men that paved the way for the fighters today, and made it so that they can make the money they make and the achieve the fame they achieve; the men that helped start and build MMA into the powerhouse that it is today and made it into a mainstream sport. Whenever I think of the good ole days of the Pride Fighting Championship, I can’t help but think of the legendary, Maricio “Shogun” Rua.
But that’s not the only thing that’s worth remembering, let’s consider the fact that Shogun is one of the few guys to come over from Pride and still have success. Now before we go any further, there have been other fighters, “Rampage” Jackson had some success in the UFC, Anderson Silva had a small stay in Pride, but Shogun to me is the one that stands out the most. As a matter of fact I remember Shogun more for his UFC fights over the Pride Fights.
First of all, he did hold UFC gold for a short amount of time defeating the champion Lyoto Machida. The two fought directly before he won the belt and he lost a controversial decision to Machida at UFC 104. Dana White also agreed that he thought Rua defeated Machida, so therefore he scheduled an immediate rematch between the two on May 8th in 2010 at UFC 113. Rua knocked out Machida in the very first round to win the UFC light heavyweight championship. This made him the second man to hold both Pride and UFC titles.
Now granted he didn’t hold the title very long, as he would start a very long list of people to be defeated by the great Jon Jones. Jones dispatched him easily in the third round. But unlike the other Pride fighters that would join the UFC roster with him, Rua had a sensational career after losing the belt. He fought the very best the division had to offer. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention BOTH fights with Dan Henderson. The first fight was considered “fight of the year”, and the second was equally as good. The fact that he has remained in top contention, actually fighting top contenders for as long as he has is a testament in itself. From his Pride days, winning the 2005 Middleweight Grand Prix, knocking out Alistair Overeem, and defeating Antonio Nogueira, all the way in 2021 he’s still in the fight game, but with his last fight a loss to “the Bearjew ” Paul Craig.
The two had fought previously on November 16 of 2019, a very exciting fight, and after three explosive rounds, the fight was contested as a split decision in favor of the aging Rua. Fast forward to his last which was almost exactly a year since their last fight, Shogun rematched Craig on November 21 2020 at UFC 255 and he was KO’d in the second round. After said fight, we heard Dana White call for the retirement of Shogun Rua and even rumors saying that Shogun had indeed retired. Since then his management has come out and said that Shogun does not want to end his career on a loss of that magnitude. So no one really knows what next for the future of Maricio “Shogun” Rua, but we do know with a past filled with great fights, championship belts, and an overall Legendary career, Shogun Rua should be recognized as one of the greatest fighters in our sport’s history.