Dana White: If Shogun Rua loses, retirement talk could be coming
Despite 11 years in the fight game, major achievements won in several organizations and widely being considered one of the best light heavyweights of all time, the most important fight of Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua’s career could happen on Friday in Australia.
It’s there that Rua will face James Te Huna and while there are no titles on the line or even a spot as a top contender, this one bout could determine the rest of the Brazilian’s career.
Rua is currently riding a two-fight losing streak and has gone just 2-4 in his last six fights. With a growing list of contenders already above him in the top ten in the light heavyweight division and a lifetime of damage done to his body over the course of a hard fought career, Rua’s staring down the barrel of a heart to heart with UFC president Dana White if he can’t pick up a win on Friday against Te Huna.
The talk could involve White suggesting Shogun consider retirement if he leaves Australia on his third straight loss.
"This is a huge fight for both of these guys," UFC president Dana White commented when speaking about Shogun vs. Te Huna to FOX Sports Live. "Obviously for Shogun Rua to be in this position fighting a guy like Te Huna, this is the fight of Te Huna’s life. Te Huna wins this fight it catapults him into the top ten, everybody knows his name and everybody’s going to want to see what’s next for him.
"If Shogun loses this fight, I don’t know, I probably would have that (retirement) conversation with him."
There is one other possible alternative for Rua if he doesn’t pick up a win and that’s moving to a new weight class. The one time PRIDE Grand Prix champion has talked about possibly dropping down to 185 pounds and testing the waters there in the future.
White believes if Shogun was willing to make that drop to middleweight, even off a loss, he’d be willing to give him a shot to stay in the UFC.
"It’s not a bad idea. If he lost this fight, I’d be interested in giving him a run at 85," White said.
Rua’s greatest hope of course is to beat Te Huna and stop any such chatter about his retirement while still giving himself the option to either continue at light heavyweight or go down to middleweight where he could be an instant contender off a win.
There’s no doubt a lot is on the line for Rua this weekend, and his future could be determined with a win or a loss.