MMA has a way of informing even its greatest competitors that time may have passed them by. As Mauricio Rua discovered, rarely is the message pleasant.
In his first appearance in more than a year, the former Ultimate Fighting Championship light heavyweight titleholder was on the receiving end of a violent knockout from Anthony Smith in the UFC Fight Night 134 headliner on July 22 in Hamburg, Germany. A devastating elbow from Smith punctuated a volley of blows and turned out the lights on Rua just 89 seconds into the first round.
A staple of the 205-pound weight class for 15-plus years, the oft-injured Rua has seen the miles continue to accumulate on his odometer. Now 36, the Brazilian owns a mediocre 9-9 record since joining the UFC in 2007 after a marvelous run in Pride Fighting Championships. Rua entered his encounter with Smith -- a short-notice replacement for Volkan Oezdemir -- on the strength of a three-fight winning streak but looked lethargic and uninspired before a crowd of 7,798 at the Barclaycard Arena.
The loss pushes “Shogun” off the page in the latest Sherdog.com divisional rankings, leaving Smith to take his place on the list of contenders at 205 pounds. Meanwhile, the resurgent Corey Anderson enters the light heavyweight rankings at No. 10 following his lopsided decision win over Glover Teixeira in the co-main event. The previously sixth-ranked Teixeira now finds himself on the bubble.
In other notable moves, former champion Dominick Cruz exits the bantamweight Top 10 due to inactivity. Cruz, 32, has not competed since his unanimous decision loss to Cody Garbrandt in December 2016. His departure clears the way for the once-beaten Cody Stamann to arrive in the No. 10 position at 135 pounds. The 28-year-old Stamann will carry a 10-fight winning streak and a gaudy 17-1 record into his pairing with Aljamain Sterling at UFC 228 on Sept. 8.
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