Mauricio Rua finds himself on a three-fight winning streak, though he fought just once in each of the past three calendar years. In his most recent appearance, “Shogun” stopped Gian Villante with punches at UFC Fight Night 106 in March 2017.
Rua will return from another extended layoff in the UFC Fight Night 134 main event on Sunday, as he takes on Anthony Smith at the Barclaycard Arena in Hamburg, Germany. A replacement for Volkan Oezdemir, Smith sent Rashad Evans into retirement with a knee-strike knockout at UFC 225 on June 9 -- his 12th win in 14 appearances.
As “Shogun” prepares for his latest assignment, here are some of the numbers that have come to define him:
16: Years as a professional mixed martial artist. His first fight was at Meca World Vale Tudo 7, held in his native of Curitiba, Brazil. He knocked out Rafael Freitas via head kick in the first round.
3: First-round stoppages to start his career. After demolishing Freitas, he knocked out Angelo Antonio de Oliveira via socker kicks and Evangelista Santos with punches.
2: Major world titles. Rua won the 2005 Pride Fighting Championships middleweight grand prix, defeating Alistair Overeem, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, Quinton Jackson and Ricardo Arona in succession. He later captured the undisputed Ultimate Fighting Championship light heavyweight title.
2: Brothers associated with mixed martial arts. Elder brother Murilo Rua, aka “Ninja,” fought for various organizations like Pride, Strikeforce, Cage Rage and EliteXC. Marcus Rua, aka “Shaolin,” the youngest of the three Rua brothers, has competed as an amateur.
4: “Fight of the Night” awards. Rua has figured into numerous heart-stopping matches throughout his career. In the UFC, his memorable encounters with the following opponents earned well-deserved post-fight bonuses: Nogueira, Mark Coleman and Dan Henderson (twice).
3: “Knockout of the Night” bonuses in the UFC. His victims were Coleman, Lyoto Machida and James Te Huna.
6: Rematches in which “Shogun” has engaged. Rua has shared the ring or cage with some of the best fighters in the world, and he faced six of them twice: Henderson, Nogueira, Overeem, Machida, Coleman and Forrest Griffin.
55: Seconds needed to defeat Oliveira in his second professional fight. It remains Rua’s fastest finish to date, followed by his 63-second knockout of Te Huna.
3: Annual awards from Sherdog. In 2005, Rua was handed the highest honor of “Fighter of the Year” after an amazing run that included his winning the Pride middleweight grand prix. His semifinal match against Nogueira was voted “Fight of the Year.” Rua sat out all of 2008 because of an injury, but the following year, he went 2-1 and snatched the UFC light heavyweight title from Machida. The feat earned him Sherdog’s “Comeback Fighter of the Year” award.
10: Career losses, all to quality opponents. The perpetrators were Coleman, Griffin, Henderson (twice), Machida, Jon Jones, Chael Sonnen, Alexander Gustafsson, Renato Sobral and Ovince St. Preux.
36: Years of age. Rua was born in Curitiba, Brazil, on Nov. 25, 1981.