Mauricio Rua is at the crossroads of his career. Last Saturday’s first round submission loss to Chael Sonnen runs his record in the UFC to 5-6, and marks the first time he has lost consecutive contests. Most fighters wouldn’t be given so many opportunities. Then again, most fighters haven’t had ‘Shogun’s’ success.
“I have 11 years in MMA and Vale Tudo, I won everything I always wanted,” Rua said in a press release given to MMAFighting.com. “I achieved everything I dreamed, but I want to do that again. I still want many victories; I still want to become the world champion again. Who decides when I will stop (fighting) or not is myself, no one else. Thank God I’m financially stable, and I keep fighting because I love it.”
At 31-years-old, Rua should be in the prime of his career. There isn’t anyone else on the planet that can say they beat Alistair Overeem, Antonio Nogueira, and Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson in the same year. He was nearly unstoppable in PRIDE; earning a 12-1 record with his only loss coming to future UFC Hall of Famer Mark Coleman. For about four years, Shogun was the perfect fighter.
Six losses and three knee surgeries later, he narrowly cracks the UFC’s light heavyweight top ten rankings. The power that earned him so many knockouts has been replaced with a worn-out body that can hardly scrape together three rounds. If his loss at Fight Night 26 taught us anything, it’s that Shogun is a shell of his former self.
“Unfortunately, in the fight [business], we have to wait a lot to return and bounce back…. I’ll get back home, see what went wrong on the fight and train hard to make sure that mistake won’t happen again,” Rua said.
Shogun appears ready to get the taste of last weekend’s loss out of his mouth. The problem is that his next fight likely won’t be against a top contender and, even then, it may not come anytime soon. He can either face an up-and-coming fighter looking to make a name for himself, or he can cut weight and take his chances as a middleweight. Either way, to go forward Shogun is going to have to take a step back.