5 Defining Moments: Mauricio Rua

By Mark Raymundo Nov 28, 2018

Mauricio “Shogun” Rua is one of the most successful fighters to ever throw hands in both Pride Fighting Championships and the Ultimate Fighting Championship. He’s won titles in each, and to this day is regarded as one of the game’s most feared strikers.

This weekend, he will face hometown favorite Tyson Pedro at UFC Fight Night 142. As the UFC revisits Australia, let’s look back at some of the career-defining moments of this highly respected Brazilian.

1. Shining in Pride

Shogun entered the 2005 Pride Middleweight Grand Prix alongside the likes of Quinton Jackson, Wanderlei Silva, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, Alistair Overeem and Ricardo Arona. In the opening round, he faced Jackson, whom he had previously challenged after the American defeated his brother Murilo Rua via controversial split decision. Shogun pummeled Jackson’s ribs with knee strikes and ended the fight with soccer kicks in the first round. In the quarterfinals, he decisioned Nogueira. Then at Pride Final Conflict 2005, he knocked out Overeem and Arona in one night to win the tournament.

2. Outstriking a Future K-1 Legend

A streak of devastating knockouts early in his career allowed the Chute Boxe product to build a fearsome reputation. In the semifinals of the aforementioned Pride Middleweight Grand Prix, he faced and beat Overeem, who himself has been making a name for his string of knockout victories. The two would meet again at Pride 33, and Shogun made even quicker work of the Dutch kickboxer.

3. Flexing Octagon Might

After two successive victories opposite Mark Coleman and Chuck Liddell, Shogun challenged the newly minted UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida. Stalking and aggressive, Shogun appeared to be winning until the decision was announced. The two elite fighters engaged in an immediate rematch, and this time, Shogun made sure not to leave it in the hands of the judges. He knocked out Machida in the very first round.

4. Monumental Fight

Shogun has engaged in some of the most significant fights in MMA history, but nothing compares to his first encounter with Dan Henderson at UFC 139. The American was in control in most of the first three rounds, even dropping Shogun once. Then in the fourth round, the momentum started to shift on the side of the Brazilian, who at one point mounted his opponent. In the end, Shogun lost by unanimous decision. They met again at UFC Fight Night 38, where after leading in the first two rounds, Shogun was knocked out in the third.

5. Climbing Back Up

Shogun has had quite a rollercoaster of a career since moving to the UFC in 2007. But after going 3-5 and losing the light heavyweight belt to Jon Jones, Shogun piled up three straight victories. He decisioned Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and Corey Anderson and TKO’d Gian Villante. And although he lost his most recent fight, Shogun has proven that he can still scrap with many of today’s finest at 205.
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