Mauricio “Shogun” Rua is looking to get back into the win column against power striker James Te Huna in the co-main event of December 6’s UFC Fight Night 33 in Brisbane, Australia.
The former Pride Grand Prix champion has been on a downward trend as of late, losing to Chael Sonnen via surprising first round submission at UFC Fight Night 26 back in August. Prior to that, “Shogun” lost a unanimous decision to talented former title challenger Alexander “The Mauler” Gustafsson.
While they were against ranked competition, the losses marker the first two-fight skid of Rua’s storied career. He’s always been a fighter able to right the ship after a loss. But with knee injuries and wars (namely his November 2011 classic with Dan Henderson) beginning to catch up with the 32-year-old Rua, a noticeable decline is to be expected.
He’ll receive a step down in competition with Te Huna, who will be fighting in his home country. Still, the Australian presents a dangerous challenge in that he can end a fight at anytime with his strikes.
Rua recently spoke up to MMA Junkie to discuss his thoughts on the upcoming bout:
“He’s a very good boxer. I know him and his style. It’s a fight that fans will want to watch because there’s going to be a lot of striking. They offered, and I was up for it, so I took it. The timing ended up working out perfect for me. I’m fighting in his home country, and it’s going to be an exciting fight.”
There’s no doubt Rua can strike with anyone. His Muay Thai skills are the stuff of legends, but his kicking power may be trailing off after repeated ACL surgeries.
So perhaps “Shogun” should look to use his proficient ground game. He is the owner of a Brazilian Jiu-jitsu black belt, which is why it was such a shock to see Sonnen pull guard and submit him. Te Huna proved he can be submitted when Glover Teixeira forced him to tap to a first round guillotine back at UFC 160 in May.
Win or lose, “Shogun” always puts on exciting fights. This one should be no different. Will Rua show that he still has some gas left in the tank? Or will Te Huna get the biggest win of his career in front of his home fans?