‘Shogun’ Rua has never contemplated retirement: ‘It doesn’t make much sense’
At 32 years old, former UFC and PRIDE champion Mauricio "Shogun" Rua has definitely seen his fair share of wars inside the cage and ring. Rua has battled with the best fighters in the world for more than a decade, but lately he’s played the part of the nail much more than he’s been the hammer.
Rua has lost three out of his past four fights, the last of which against Dan Henderson was a bout he was winning handily until he got his nose smashed in the third round before getting finished with strikes. It was a devastating loss considering Rua was trying to build on a previous knockout win over James Te Huna as well as avenge a previous defeat to Henderson.
Instead, Rua had to get his nose rearranged after the fight while hearing about Henderson’s win as one of the greatest comebacks in MMA history.
"MMA fights are like that, it happens. I was doing well but I got hit with a very hard punch, and this is what happens in MMA with the small gloves and everything," Rua told FOX Sports. "It’s really part of the game. It’s frustrating, but it’s part of the game."
If I’m the guy going in there fighting and I’m happy doing it and the UFC is the promotion that hires and promotes my fights and they are happy with having me on the show, then why would I stop fighting?
— Mauricio 'Shogun' Rua
After the loss, Rua was hit with the familiar headlines about his possible retirement from the sport. He’s been hearing this a lot over the past few years as he’s teetered on the outskirts of the top 10 of the division while taking serious beatings in many of his fights.
Rua was a terminator for much of his early career, but the damage has mounted in recent fights. The fight with Henderson marked the second time Rua had been finished by strikes in his UFC career, but he also absorbed a lot of punishment during his days fighting in Japan.
All together, it raises the question about Rua’s long-term health and safety, but according to the fighter he’s never even contemplated retiring. And until the UFC says it no longer needs his services, Rua isn’t planning on going anywhere.
"Not at all, it never really crossed my mind," Rua said about retirement. "Much to the contrary, I was always planning on continuing to fight. If I’m the guy going in there fighting and I’m happy doing it and the UFC is the promotion that hires and promotes my fights and they are happy with having me on the show, then why would I stop fighting?
"It doesn’t make much sense. It never really crossed my mind."
Rua did reveal recently that his family wanted him to retire, but that’s something he’s been dealing with for years apparently. Rua says his wife, mother and other members of his family aren’t huge MMA fans, so seeing him come home bruised up or with a broken bone immediately sends them into a panic — whereas he’s just looking to heal up and get back to action again.
"It doesn’t really bother me or hinder me in any way. My mom and my wife, they don’t really understand much about fighting, and they’re naturally worried with my well-being, with my health and everything. I think every fighter probably goes through that at some point," Rua explained.
"I understand they worry and I understand they care about me. I also understand they don’t understand much about fighting, so I don’t really get bothered by it; it doesn’t hinder me at all. It’s natural. I know what I’m doing. It’s part of the game, and my family is being my family."
While Rua has stated previously that he always believes he’s no more than just a couple of fights away from a title shot, realistically his future probably doesn’t involve a lot of chances to battle for the belt again.
Rua is still ranked No. 9 in the world at light heavyweight, but he’s gone just 3-5 over his past eight fights, and the only win he has over a ranked opponent was against Forrest Griffin in 2011. Rua’s next fight, on Nov. 8, comes against No. 11-ranked Jimi Manuwa. But even with a win, it would be hard to justify a significant move ahead in the divisional race at 205 pounds.
Titles may be somewhat out of reach, but that doesn’t mean Rua isn’t motivated to win. He’s no longer the champion nor the No. 1 contender, and there’s no denying this version of Rua isn’t 22 years old anymore either.
So what keeps him going and keeps him hungry for more fights?
"I think nowadays my biggest motivations are my family, my team, my friends, my fans; this is what drives me forward and gets me to fight," Rua explained. "Now that I’ve pretty much conquered all my dreams or most of my dreams through my career, this is what drives me forward. Just the motivation that I get from my family, my friends, my fans and my team."