During the glory days of PRIDE FC, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua was widely regarded as one of the most multidimensional strikers in the world. Using the classic Chute Boxe style, Shogun punched, kicked, and kneed his opponents to a bloody mess in front of thousands of Japanese fans in the Siatama Super Arena. Although PRIDE was a mixed martial arts promotion like the UFC, its rules were slightly different.
Unlike the its American counterpart, the Japanese promotion had a ten minute first round, a ring instead of an octagon, different gloves, elbows to the head and face were prohibited, and kicks and knees to downed opponents were allowed. These rules worked to the advantage of certain fighting styles over others. Fighters like Ricardo Arona and Mark Coleman benefited from these conditions greatly. Trapping their grounded opponents in front headlocks and utilizing knee strikes to earn stoppage victories became one of their favorite techniques, something that’s not allowed in the UFC.
Another fighter who used PRIDE rules to his advantage was Mauricio Rua. The Brazilian light heavyweight earned a total of four victories via kicks or stomps to a downed opponent while fighting under the PRIDE banner. Since switching over to the UFC, Rua has gone 5-6, not quite as stellar when compared to his PRIDE record of 12-1. Part of his decline, according to him at least, he blames on the UFC rules.
According to MMA Junkie, Rua claimed that the UFC rules have been obstructing the progress of his MMA career, and he also added that the PRIDE rules were safer.
“For sure, the new rules hinder me,” Rua said. “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.”
Those claims are highly debatable. Nonetheless, Rua expressed his hope that one day the UFC would alter its rules to allow soccer kicks and foot stomps to downed opponents.
“I hope that one day, the UFC can legalize foot stomps and soccer kicks,” he added. “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.”
Considering that he’s had success in the past by finishing opponents with those techniques, he’s not exactly impartial in regards to the subject of which one is safer.
What do you guys think? Is Rua right or wrong? Are soccer kicks and foot stomps safer than elbows? Should they be allowed in the UFC?