Pride FC legend Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua will likely fight to decide his future in the sport, as he faces James Te Huna at UFC Fight Night Brisbane on Decemner 7th. The bout will be crucial for Rua’s future as he is on a three fight skid and has dropped four of his last six.
One reason behind Rua’s bad streak in the UFC could be a few long lasting injuries, although you could attribute the adjustments between Pride and UFC rules that ‘Shogun’ has made to his decline.
“For sure, the new rules hinder me,” Rua recently said to MMAJunkie.com. “I think that the rule set from when I fought in Japan was safer than today’s rules. Elbows hurt a lot more than stomps. I had adapted to their rules. So when I came to the UFC, to get comfortable, it took some time. And, truthfully, my fight style relied greatly on stomps and soccer kicks. So to me, the greatest minus when coming to the UFC was the change in rules.”
Although he was the UFC 205lb. Champion after going 3-2 in the UFC, his first defence didn’t go so well. He was smashed by Jon Jones and hasn’t looked the same since. An argument against the use of head stomps could be how brutal it looks, although you could argue that elbows are a lot more nasty.
Rua’s stomps and kicks were a speciality of the Chute Box Academy where he trained, Wanderlei Silva was also a great example of a guy who would ruin you with soccer kicks.
“I hope that one day, the UFC can legalize foot stomps and soccer kicks,” he said. “It would be great. I miss it. During the PRIDE era, I have no recollection of anyone getting hurt badly from stomps or soccer kicks. Elbows, in truth, really do hurt an opponent.”
I really would like to see Rua get a win against Te Huna, but surely going back to a Japanese organization would allow Rua to go back to his roots. If he loses at Fight Night 33, it may well mean that to continue fighting Rua must find a new home elsewhere.
It would be a great shame to lose a fighter with such huge potential from the big leagues, but he admits that his style for many years relied on stomps and soccer kicks. The reality is that the UFC is unlikely to ever consider allowing these moves to be used, but if they did; would Shogun have had any more success?