Former UFC light-heavyweight champion Mauricio “Shogun” Rua definitely knew the stakes were high entering his clash at Fight Night 33 against the hard-hitting James Te Huna. Rua had dropped two straight bouts against Alexander Gustafsson and Chael Sonnen, and had dropped three of his last four fights. Even UFC President Dana White had talked about the need for Rua to consider a move to middleweight or even consider retirement if he were to lose.
Rua responded to all the adversity in impressive fashion as he destroyed Te Huna in just 63 seconds in a Knockout of the Night performance. The end came thanks to a tremendous counter left hook. Rua rejuvenated his career by improving to 22-8 while recording his 19th knockout victory. It was the 17th time that “Shogun” had stopped an opponent in the opening round.
Clearly Rua will retain his top-10 status in the 205 pound weight class and has likely secured a more high profile opponent moving forward. “Shogun” leveled his record inside the Octagon to 6-6. It will be very interesting to see what UFC matchmakers have in store for him next. As for Te Huna, it was the second straight fight where he’s been stopped by high-level competition in the opening round. He was submitted at UFC 160 by dangerous Brazilian Glover Teixeira.
Many fans were undoubtedly hoping that the legendary Rua would be able to summon one more impressive performance to halt all of the retirement talk, and that’s exactly what he was able to do. While only 32, his career began back in 2002, and he has been in many a war over the years dating back to his days in Pride. His five-round war with Dan Henderson at UFC 139 remains an all-time classic. Any notion as to whether Rua should hang up the gloves has been put to rest by his explosive effort in Australia.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports.