Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua has had a bit of a downwards slide in his storied MMA career; most recently getting squashed by Chael Sonnen in one round. The fight raised a lot of questions about ‘Shogun’ and his will to continue in the sport , especially seeing as Rua hasn’t won a fight since August 2012.
A lacklustre performance against future title contender Alexander Gustafsson last December didn’t do much for Rua’s street cred either, although you could also blame injury for a lot of his recent bad form. Problems with his knees have plagued the Pride FC legend since his days of fighting in Japan, but there is surely a part of Rua that wants to fight on; otherwise why would he be doing this?
Rua was on hand to field questions at a recent Q&A session in the lead up to UFN 32, giving an indication that he may follow his former nemesis Lyoto Machida down to Middleweight:
“It might happen, but for now I have a fight scheduled," Rua told the crowd in attendance. "I would have to do some medical exams to see if it's possible. My normal weight is 228, 231 pounds. Maybe I can and maintain my performance. I would need to think about it, but that's something that can happen."
I would love to see Rua rejuvenate his career at 185lbs., he is one of my all time favorite fighters for his aggressive knockout style and he is also a great person. My only question would be: is it too little, too late?
Although only aged 31, it is clear that Shogun is past his peak as a fighter. That being said, Vitor Belfort and ‘The Dragon’ have proved that age is merely a number and ‘Shogun’ could very well do the same.
Currently booked to fight James Te Huna at UFN 33 in December, Rua has the opportunity to show he is still able to win. Lose and it’s likely the end of his current UFC stint, not that it would be impossible to also come back from that; but it would stack the odds against him.
Rua’s back is against the wall as he faces a rebounding, heavy handed slugger in Te Huna. Fighting on his home turf of Australia, Te Huna will look to spoil Rua’s party. If the Brazilian can get through this one, a move to Middleweight might prove a prudent one.