MAURICIO “SHOGUN” RUA
Everyone’s Welcome to Come and Train With Us
Mauricio Shogun Rua, UFC’s Light Heavyweight Champion
© Marc Wickert
photos copyright 2004 Zuffa LLC
Special thanks to Eduardo Alonso
On October 24, 2009, MMA fans voiced their disapproval when Mauricio Shogun Rua appeared to be “robbed” by the judges after he fought five grueling rounds against Lyoto Machida for UFC’s World Light-Heavyweight Title at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
During UFC 104’s post-fight media event, Dana White declared “I think Shogun won that fight” and immediately set the wheels in motion for UFC 113: Machida vs. Shogun 2. As stated previously on Knucklepit, Lyoto was not responsible for the controversial decision at UFC 104.
In both matches between Machida and Shogun, Mauricio revealed what an incredibly versatile and brutal fighter he is. In the past, Shogun has left a wake of destruction whenever he has competed, defeating Hiromitsu Kanehara by stomp, knee-barring Kevin Randleman, stopping Alistair Overeem with punches, breaking Rampage Jackson’s ribs with knee strikes before ending the bout with soccer kicks…
Born November 25, 1981 in Curitiba, Brazil, Maurico first took up Brazilian Jiu Jitsu at six and Muay Thai at seven, and was awarded his BJJ Black Belt under Nino Schembri. Shogun is the younger brother of Murilo “Ninja” Rua and older brother of Marco “Shaolin” Rua. Despite only being 28, Shogun has chalked up an impressive MMA record of 19-4-0, with victories over some of the world’s most elite fighters as well as winning Pride’s 2005 Middleweight Grand Prix.
1 Mauricio Shogun Rua delivering a big left fist
Mauricio, congratulations on your victory. How did you celebrate?
“Thanks! Actually I didn't have much time to celebrate, ’cause right after I went to Toronto for some commitments and then flew to North Carolina for my brother's fight on Shine Fights, which ended up never happening with the show being cancelled. Real celebration only happened a week and a half after I got back to Brazil. There were a lot of people in the airport waiting for me, and we had a huge barbecue party with my family, teammates and friends. It was awesome.”
In the past, Lyoto has been able to evade his opponents. Why was he not able to evade you in either of your matches with him?
“Likely, because my team and I studied his game a lot. I also knew a bit from his style since we had trained together in the past, but we studied his game extensively, watching many of his old fights and our styles matched up kind of well. He is a great fighter and has his own style. I had to change my whole training and sparring sessions to be able to emulate his style and adapt. MMA has evolved greatly so being able to adjust is very important.”
Who did you train with for the second fight?
“I trained with my team at UDL, the same team that I trained with for the first fight. The only addition was K-1 veteran Glaube Feitosa, who joined us and helped a lot. Regardless, I had the support from Andre Dida as my Muay Thai trainer, Raphael Simpson as my BJJ trainer, my sparring partner Paulo Tuba, and a bunch of other guys like Fernando Vieira, Luciano Contini, Marcio Gracinha, my brothers Murilo Ninja and Marcos Rua, my manager Eduardo Alonso, and the list goes on and on.”
What was going through your mind during training for the rematch?
“I knew this was the most important fight of my life because it was an instant rematch, and I was having my second title shot in a row. It would be very difficult to have another title shot soon if I was to lose. So I was trying my best and training hard. However, I try not to put too much pressure on myself, other than performing my best, because it can do more harm than good. We had some obstacles during training camp and they only made me stronger, trying to overcome them all.”
Prior to UFC 113, you said: “Lyoto left the Octagon with broken ribs, bruised legs and a bloody mouth, but how did I leave the Octagon? Ready to fight again, unscathed.” Lyoto also sustained a broken left hand. Did you feel you showed at UFC 104that you could take anything Lyoto could throw at you?
“I don't want to say that, cause Lyoto is a great fighter. He is a complete fighter and very dangerous; his record shows that. I think that our styles matched up well for me, and that we were able to study this game well, making me comfortable to some extent. I think our first fight served for me to know his game a little better and understand some things that would work and some that wouldn't. It made me feel comfortable and gave me a positive mindset going into the second fight.”
1 Mauricio Shogun Rua throws overhand right
You caught Lyoto with a huge knee to the body in round two of your first encounter. Is that what broke his ribs?
“I don't know. I landed some solid shin kicks to his ribs, and I could see that he was feeling them. He is a very good fighter in keeping his emotions stable, and not letting the judges or the opponents see what strikes he is feeling, but I could tell his ribs were in pain through the fight, due to my kicks.”
Would the Shogun who fought Machida the second time have beaten the Shogun who fought the first time? Were you a much better fighter at UFC 113?
“As fighters, we are always working hard and trying to evolve. You have to constantly improve as the game is always changing. With that said, I think each fight is a different fight, and the second fight was more aggressive, likely as a result of the first fight. Neither he nor I wanted to let the fight go to the judges' score cards again, and we wanted to prove we could finish the fight. Both camps came with different strategies, and that was also a result of the first fight, so I think I was just more aggressive and maybe more comfortable – certainly even more motivated.”
Do you believe you got into Lyoto’s head before the rematch? How would you describe the difference in attitudes each of you had in UFC 104 and UFC 113?
“Lyoto is a great athlete, and very experienced. I don't want to go too much on that route. My team thought he seemed a little nervous at the weigh-ins and during his walk to the cage. I think no matter what people say in the press, we fighters know what goes on when we fight, how our fights went, and what our opponents did that hurt us or not. I think people said a lot of things about the first fight, but only those who were there, mostly Lyoto and I, know what we went through and how things were. The important thing is that he has all my respect. We fought a second time and maybe in the future we can fight a third time.”
Did you also come out of the second bout unscathed?
“Did you watch the fight (Laughs)?”
How did your speed compare with Lyoto’s in the fights?
“I think Machida is a very quick fighter, with lots of speed, but I think I'm fast as well and we were pretty even in that category. The key is the timing, knowing when to hit, and what reads to use.”
Does it worry you that you are not able to use your signature flying stomps or soccer kicks to downed opponents in North American competition?
“(Laughs) It does not worry me, but it certainly took away some of my weapons. As I always say, I think the game changes too much from the Pride environment to the UFC environment. The octagon – it's size and space, the fence, the elbows, not having the knee strikes or the soccer kicks, and also the length of the rounds – it's all a different game. The same can be said about the way he crowd behaves, the pressure, etc. It takes a while to adapt and it requires some changes to the training, so that's something people don't really understand sometimes.”
1 Mauricio Shogun Rua g’n’p-ing Lyoto Machida
Have you heard who your next opponent will be or when you will be defending your title?
“No, I have no idea. I think there are a lot of great fighters in the light heavyweight division, and a number of tough contenders and great fights ahead. I just won the belt and have some personal things to take care of. Whatever the UFC decides, my manager and I are going to talk about it and be ready for it. There's time for that though.”
You had a knee injury (ruptured ACL) during your lead up to fighting Forrest Griffin. Would you like to avenge your loss to him?
“I have no hard feelings for Forrest, and I have no excuses as I decided to take the fight. I was able to avenge two losses, so why not? I would like to have a chance to fight him again, if that's possible and in the best interest of UFC and the fans. If it doesn't happen though, it's okay anyway, as we have to move on.”
What are your thoughts on facing Anderson Silva if that should happen?
“Like I have been saying, I'm a professional fighter, so I fight anyone besides my brother Ninja, and my friend Wanderlei Silva, who was my idol when I was starting up. I respect Anderson as a fighter, and his accomplishments speak for themselves. If that's what the fans and the UFC want, down the road I would fight him. As of now, I don't think of that, ’cause I have to defend my belt and that has to be my main focus.”
Does Marco “Shaolin” Rua have any intentions of making his Octagon debut?
“That's really up to him. My brother Marcos is very talented, and he could certainly become a pro fighter if he wants it. However, he has to want it himself, and we will not pressure or force him into becoming a fighter. He is the biggest of the brothers, and is very talented, so if he wants to fight he will have our support.”
Will you be accompanying your brother, Murilo, to Australia for his bout against Jeremy May at Impact FC?
“I think so! If I don't have any other commitments that keep me from going, I certainly will. They would have to be some major commitments anyway (Laughs). My brother just had his 30th professional MMA fight this weekend at Bitetti Combat 7 in Rio de Janeiro and won by side choke in the first round. I have the biggest pleasure being in his corner every time he fights, and I know he feels the same way. He is the reason why I'm here today, and I will always support him.”
Mauricio Shogun Rua’s sponsors?
“I want to thank Bad Boy and Nutrabolics for their support. I really feel like family with them. I also want to thank my team, UDL, and let everybody know that they are welcome to come and train with us in Brazil.”
Mauricio, is there anything you would like to add?
“I want to thank the fans, my team and family for all their support in this UFC run. Only we know how tough it was, and what a long road it was. The fans are the reason we try hard and go through all that. They are the ones who really pay our salary and I feel very happy to see that I'm able to give something back to the fans. Thanks a lot! Follow me on my twitter at twitter.com/_shogunrua.”
1 Mauricio Shogun Rua finally gets revenge at UFC 113
For more on Mauricio Shogun Rua: www.mauricioshogun.com.br.
Knucklepit’s review of Machida vs. Shogun 2: http://www.knucklepit.com/ufc113-review.htm.
Most Dangerous 205-Pounder
photos copyright 2004 Zuffa LLC
seven percent of text voters thought the Machida vs Shogun title bout at
the Staples Center in Los Angeles would go the distance, with 80 percent
predicting a KO finish.
up to this incredible title bout, Lyoto Machida had never lost a round
in UFC competition, and it was stated that he had absorbed fewer strikes
than any other fighter in UFC history. UFC President Dana White
said, “This is going to be a stand-up war between two of the best
technical strikers in the business.”
resulted was one of the biggest championship upsets since September 28,
1976, at Muhammad Ali vs Ken Norton III, when a Yankee Stadium full of
Ali fans appeared to turn their support from the champ to the
challenger, only to have the judges hand their decision to Ali.
a similar situation, Mauricio Shogun Rua appeared to outclass Lyoto
Machida in all five rounds, before being goosed by the judges.
Even Dana White said they didn’t get the “right call”.
Fortunately, the fans were treated to an exceptional battle and everyone will remember Shogun’s name.
comes out to a subdued response from the audience before the house
lights go out; the lights beam back on to Lyoto’s entrance which is
met by a roaring crowd, high in expectation for the champ
Shogun Rua (6’1” 204.5) vs Lyoto Machida (6’1” 202.5)
In fairness to Machida, he was not on the judging panel.