Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua pushed away the whispers of retirement with a stunning knockout James Te Huna in his last fight. Shogun’s left hand sent Te Huna to the floor in under a minute of their fight, showing that the Brazilian is still a dangerous competitor. Fans are calling for him to move down to 185 pounds in order to make a new title run within the UFC, which is highly unlikely in his current weight class.
Could Shogun win the championship at middleweight? Probably not. With Chris Weidman reigning on top of the division, Rua faces getting severely out-wrestled and submitted by the champion, and probably most of the division. The middleweight division, once known as the most shallow weight classes in MMA, has suddenly become one of the most dangerous divisions in the sport, hosting a murderer’s row of terrifying strikers and grapplers.
Dramatic wars, one-sided beatdowns, intense training sessions and grueling surgeries are too much for Shogun to overcome at this stage of his career, and while he may possess some of the most dangerous hands in the division, the young guns of this sport will easily overtake the legend.
Looking at shoguns last five fights, can we really point to weight difference as a huge factor? Jon Jones is a huge individual who used his size to decimate Shogun, but Mauricio was one of Jon’s easiest fights to date. Rua’s loss to Alexander Gustafsson had nothing to do with size as much as it had to do with speed. The young mauler managed to dance around Rua’s looping punches and flat footwork to outwork him in every category.
Being submitted by Chael Sonnen? That’s a technical fault on Shogun’s part which probably shouldn’t have happened, but it won’t be forgotten. The win against Te Huna was great, but Te Huna is not a ranked fighter like the others, and the win doesn’t do much for Shogun in terms of moving forward.
Rua is one of my favorite fighters in history, and any fight of his is worth a watch. I recommend any new fan to the sport to check out Rua’s fights in Pride in order to see why everyone loves the man. But that man, that warrior, is not the same man we see Bruce Buffer introducing into the Octagon today.
Shogun should stick to whatever weight class is easy for him and get some big money fights behind him. A rematch between him and Dan Henderson will no doubt be on the horizon, and how have we still not ever seen Shogun vs. Rashad Evans? Every fan will tune in to see this man fight, but to expect him to drop weight at the age 32 and fight the young guns in middleweight is almost unfair.
Marcus Pordoy is an MMA writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @MMAnalysisRoom, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.