Maurício Shogun Rua, the tale of a cruel fate

Maurício Shogun Rua, the tale of a cruel fate

Let me get this out of the way right now, I am an unapologetic Shogun fanatic. It’s cliche to claim to be one of the biggest fans of anything, being a fan creates hyperbole, so I’m not going to do that, I’m simply going to tell a few disjointed stories to prove my point. The UFC Fan Expo in Boston, the infamous Bloodstain Lane and myself got in line on four separate occasions to meet Shogun, which ended up culminating in a picture that encapsulated the moment perfectly, as you can see above. UFC 113 this pretty lady asked me to hang out, I told her that I was going to watch the fights and if we were to hang out, it’d have to be at some place we can watch the fights. It was decided that we’d go to Buffalo Wild Wings, most people would be a normal human being on a date with a pretty lady, that wasn’t the case with me. She tried to tell me that she didn’t know who she wanted to win, I told her that she wanted Shogun to win. After Shogun defeated Machida, most people would’ve smiled did a fist pump and left, nope, not me, I felt the need to stand on top of the booth and scream Shogun as the restaurant exploded with cheers. Needless to say, I never went on a date with that pretty lady again. UFC 128 in Newark, New Jersey, I bought vale tudo shorts and a Croatian flag to bring to the fights, which culminated in one of the saddest moments in my life as a sports fan. Why am I telling you all of this? To set the stage for one fans perspective on the legend that is Maurício “Shogun” Rua

Shogun’s Pride career started off as a simple one, he was a member of the legendary Chute Boxe Academy and more importantly the protégé of then Pride Middleweight champion, Wanderlei Silva. He came into Pride destroying much smaller opponents than he, but he beat them in spectacular fashion. He never was tested going into the 2005 Middleweight Grand Prix, up to that point he lost one fight with Babalu and outside of a fight with Cyborg Santos in Meca World Vale Tudo, he was never tested, he was never in trouble.

That would change in the 2005 MWGP, quite possibly the tournament with the most talent in the history of combat sports, seven out of the sixteen participants held or would go onto hold a major title in combat sports, you bump that number up to eight if you count Sakuraba winning the UFC Japan tournament. With a tournament that included so many killers, people weren’t expecting much from this mostly unknown commodity. What followed was one of the four of the most violent fights one could ever witness.

This streak would start off with none other than Rampage Jackson. Shogun turned in a performance that was breathtaking for it’s sheer dominance as much as it was for it’s sheer violence. Shogun demonstrated his brilliance culminating in a image that will be forever engrained into the minds of MMA fans, of dazed Rampage trying to escape the ring as he’s eating a series of soccer kicks.

Shogun would then go on to face Antônio Rogério Nogueira in the quarter finals. There are times when I watch a fight, when I can only help but laugh. It’s not meant to be disrespectful in anyway, just what I am watching is so unbelievable that I laugh. Every single time I watch this fight, I laugh uncontrollably. The amount of abuse both fighters take is breathtaking, the human body shouldn’t be able to absorb that much impact. Shogun displayed something we didn’t get to see that much from up to this point, that was his superior grappling on the ground to take home the decision. It was a stunning fight that will go down as one of the best ever.

Then on August 28th, 2005 one of the greatest if not the greatest MMA card took place. With the finale of the MWGP and maybe the most important fight in MMA history, Mirko Cro Cop vs Fedor Emelianenko going down, the excitement in the air was palpable. The expected outcome was going to be an anticlimactic one, with Wanderlei Silva and Shogun Rua thought to come out victorious over their opponents. Shogun stated that he wouldn’t fight his mentor and he’d forfeit the fight. Ricardo Arona had different plans, defeating The Axe Murderer by decision, Shogun had to overcome the Dutch product Alistair Overeem for the chance to avenge Wanderlei. In a fight that was back and forth for the first few minutes, Shogun began to tire out Overeem with his grappling, finishing him with some furious ground and pound.

The finals were set, Arona vs. Shogun for the 2005 MWGP. Arona came out aggressive, looking to land a takedown and use some of his ADCC level grappling. He never got a chance to showcase his skillset. In less than three minutes, Shogun left him flat on the canvas, unconscious.

This was it, this is what was the start of a legendary career. What we didn’t know is that this would be the peak of Shogun’s talent.

Five fights later Shogun would find himself in the UFC, facing Forrest Griffin, a fight that most people thought was almost a showcase fight for Shogun. It didn’t turn out that way. Shogun went into the fight with torn ligaments in his knee, which hampered him greatly, costing him his cardio and his ability to train. Two knee surgeries and a lackluster performance vs. Mark Coleman later, he’d find himself matched up with UFC posterboy Chuck Liddell. We saw a different Shogun than in the past two fights, we saw a Shogun that was both fast and nimble. It was an impressive victory, knocking out “The Iceman” late in the first round. With as impressive of a victory it was, some had to wonder, was this Shogun regaining his former glory, or was this Chuck on the back end of his career?

Shogun would answer that in his next fight with the UFC light heavyweight champion, Lyoto Machida. Lyoto was a mystery, we never saw someone with that style rise that high. Machida was never even challenged up to this point, surely a Shogun with two major knee surgeries wouldn’t be the guy to defeat Machida. He did, in what was one of the most technical striking matches I have ever witnessed in MMA. Shogun peppered Machida with kicks the entire night, never letting him do something and be unpunished. Finally, after everything Shogun has been through, the match ended. This is his moment, he’s finally proven himself to the american audience we never got to enjoy his body of work in Pride. He was UFC champi… how could this happen? Shogun clearly won the fight, yet all three judges score the fight for Machida. The judges robbed Shogun of what was his. Thankfully Shogun got another chance to prove himself in a rematch.

How would Shogun go into this fight? He couldn’t go in with the same exact gameplan, how would he defeat Machida twice? Could it even be done? It could. Shogun came forward and didn’t stop, landing a right hand that grazed off of Machida’s temple. Machida would go down and Shogun would mount him for the finish. Finally Shogun was UFC champion, after a journey that seemed as if it would never end, his quest was over. This would be the last time we saw Shogun fight at an elite level. News came out that Shogun tore knee ligaments during the fight and was scheduled for a third knee surgery.

His next six fights were a display of a fighter who was fighting with more heart than talent. We’d see a split second of greatness, a split second of a fighter who won the 2005 MWGP and the UFC LHW championship. Then we’d see minutes upon agonizing minutes of a fighter who had three knee surgeries. This past weekend was the epitome of Shogun post his third knee surgery. He just isn’t the same fighter he was. Hell, when he won the UFC title he wasn’t the same fighter he was in Pride. He learned to fight differently, he learned to fight with the body that he had and he did his best. With Shogun no longer fighting at an elite level at the age of 31, it’s gut wrenching. This isn’t how it was suppose to end, Shogun was suppose to have a reign of terror over the LHW division for years. Now he’s losing to one dimensional middleweights. This isn’t the fairytale ending that we wanted, it wasn’t the fairytale ending that we deserved.

Shogun is the a sad tale of a generational talent who fought through adversity as long as he could, a fighter who achieved greatness on a knees that had been surgically repaired twice. While Shogun losing is beyond sad, depressing even, it isn’t a time to be depressed. If Shogun never won a fight again after he had two knee surgeries, he’d still be an all time great, yet he won a UFC title. What happened post UFC 113 is irrelevant. Nothing that Shogun does will tarnish what he has accomplished. This is a time to be happy that we got to witness such a great fighter. A fighter that made violence graceful, a fighter that left everything he had in the ring, a fighter named Maurício "Shogun" Rua.


Last modified onThursday, 22 August 2013 16:10
Gary LaPlante

Gary LaPlante cares about a hand full of things, his best friend/his cat Tardy, stage diving and tending to the need of all the pretty ladies that frequent his front door. With Gary’s free time he slam dances, eats a horrible food that would kill any man that had a glass stomach and being a huge nerd. If you’d like to join Gary is going front to back, side to side in the pit or if you’d just like to exchange pictures of cats, please contact him.

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+15 # bayzel22 2013-08-22 15:37
Great fucking article. Really hope Shogun vs Lil Nog II gets lined back up. They may not be what they once were, but they will put on a great fucking show
+7 # Mikehavok 2013-08-22 15:41
come on... Don't put Eminem crap to a shogun highlight.

makes no sense plus he sucks
+7 # Lefthea D. Kick 2013-08-22 15:48
Shogun is the man, got a picture with him and he gave me a signed hat at the open workouts in Boston because it was my birthday haha. It's funny that such a nice guy is a total killer in the cage/ring. I hope he can put something together and get some more wins :(
+7 # jt33 2013-08-22 16:20
ninja said some shady things have been going on with his training...i also heard he has essentially been his own head coach lately. he needs to get into a good camp and i think he could make another run at the belt...always one of my favorite fighters to watch though.
+5 # Gary LaPlante 2013-08-22 16:37
It's one of the reasons why Shogun left Eduardo Alonso, he wanted Shogun to leave UDL (the camp he created) and train at Kings. He's stubbornly loyal to the ones closest to him, such as Andre Dida, who I have no doubt is a great person, but he shouldn't have been Shogun's striking coach for that long, he just got rid of him in preparation for his camp for Lil Nog.
+6 # Punkhazard 2013-08-22 16:30
This made my day. I am truly happy because of this also because I am a really big Shogun fan as well. I will always be a fan and will pay good money to see him fight.

He is a legend. Too bad the wear and tear of fighting has caught up with him. He brings so much damage to his opponents it's backfiring to him but still it's a testament to his sheer brilliance and love of the sport. Kudos!
+5 # SST 2013-08-22 16:31
Nice article. Some of these cunts on ME know nothing about Shogun.
-14 # DIckNiaz 2013-08-22 16:46
I know one thing about SHOGUN...

he got tapped out by the American Gangster.
-14 # MMAsshole 2013-08-22 16:54
I like Shogun, but he was beat by a fellow GOAT and legend in Cheal. Its not the end of the world for Shogun. Everyone loses to Cheal. It is sad that Shogun can't keep up on an elite level, Cheals level for example. But he can still put on exciting fights.

I say Shogun vs Overeem 2 open weight. If overeem loses again cut him for sure
+3 # Castro 2013-08-22 17:05
-3 # MMAsshole 2013-08-22 18:31
Get out of here you dirty troll
-3 # the boss dude 2013-08-23 05:04
+5 # FactChecker 2013-08-23 10:58
1. Its Chael, not Cheal
2. Shogun and Overeem have already fought twice, Shogun won both times.
+3 # BATTLE PENIS 2013-08-23 16:55
The guy is a fairly high level troll, and your feeding him
+1 # Fatty_Sam86 2013-08-23 22:44
*You're... just saying... sorry... I had to...
-1 # Lorchlight 2013-08-23 13:51
Fuck Chael Sonnen fans. I just realized Sonnen himself isn't my problem, it's his silly fans. You do realize fans like you and all these other Sonnen marks literally didn't exist in combat sports before the build up to the Silva fight.

They are an entirely new breed of MMA fan that directly crossed over from WWE. Don't get me wrong, I love wrestling but these guys are sheer on another level. There were always fans and fanatics in the mma internet community, but Sonnen shitted out pure marks and trolls. They are fully commited to this bit
-9 # LInearChamp 2013-08-22 19:16
Gary LaPlante: The tale of a butt hurt shogun fanboy!
claiming knee surgery as an excuse.
he didnt even use his knees except for when he was getting up, thats when he got jumped by a gangster!
-3 # MMAsshole 2013-08-22 21:22
You didn't know? The knee bone is connected to the neck bone?
+11 # ShogunsInjuredKnee 2013-08-22 19:26
Yo thanks for the shout out
-1 # the boss dude 2013-08-23 05:03
fill a hot tub with a shitload of WFM vitamins and soak your whole body in it for as long as u feel and whenever u feel yea dude
+10 # Hooha 2013-08-22 19:32
Monsieur Laplante,

don't give up on Shogun so quickly and don't underestimate his opponents! Jon Jones, Henderson, Gustaffson and Sonnen are not one-dimensional fighters, they are tippy-top tier and that's who he lost to.

These guys only fight 2-4 times a year, we don't have a solid base to really judge performances. Shogun got caught by a great fighter but that does not mean that he's done being amongst the elite.

Let's wait and see!

+4 # Cactus 2013-08-22 20:41
I always thought he had the best chin in the game, him or Hendo. When they fought it was awesome.
+3 # dmoney916 2013-08-22 23:46
Shogun is a legend! Great article! It was tough to see the pain in his eyes after losing to chael. American gangster? Makes me sick, you like his personality, not his fighting style. Besides wrestling and shit talking what does chael have?
+7 # PeteDaMeat 2013-08-23 00:45
Apparently guillotine chokes
+4 # MMAsshole 2013-08-23 02:23
Lol. I love you
-1 # the boss dude 2013-08-23 05:01
my first professional fight will be against rampage jackson within the year
0 # the boss dude 2013-08-23 05:02
doctors will be at seen for possibly your leg amputations and dont worry u will come out much strong
+1 # morley 2013-08-23 07:30
great fuckin article
0 # Toothy 2013-08-23 07:45
One-dimensional middleweight? Christ, dude, bias much? The only thing Chael Sonnen has done wrong in his recent career is not being as good a fighter as Anderson Silva and Jon Jones.
+1 # Lorchlight 2013-08-23 13:59
Or Babalu, Michael Bisping, Damien Maia, Jeremy Horn and quite a few others. Sonnen is overrated as fuck. He's a good fighter but without the mouth piece none of you would care. This is 100% fact because no one cared until the build up to the Silva fight. I lived through this shit and I'm guessing you did too so stop the BSing Sonnen "fans"

If you fucks would just admit you're enamored by his personality and not his fighting style of record people would take you and him more seriously. People give Sonnen shit because him and his fans are constantly trying to make us believe this fabricated history about his career.

Like Jones said before their fight. Sonnen has 1 gear. Stop trying to sell us on him being a great
0 # Hooha 2013-08-23 15:44
no doubt there's a hype-train around Sonnen, but his strength, great wrestling and good hands make him a very relevant fighter. Like so many fighters, he's had some great performances and some bad ones too. He seems to be closing up the holes in his grappling game, too.
He's also become a showman and a good one at that (one of the few really eloquent folks in MMA) - all together that makes for one interesting fighter...
-2 # Lorchlight 2013-08-23 18:39
Sonnen does not have good hands. The only reason his striking works is because he's willing to run directly at his opponent with reckless abandon. this guy manages one good striking outing vs Silva and overnight his striking is legit?

Sonnen has decent hands at best. Hypothetically if the UFC implemented a no grappling rule Sonnen's face would look like Wandy's. I challenge you to highlight one other good striking performance by Chael in recent history?
+1 # PeteDaMeat 2013-08-24 02:57
Quoting Lorchlight:
Sonnen does not have good hands. The only reason his striking works is because he's willing to run directly at his opponent with reckless abandon. this guy manages one good striking outing vs Silva and overnight his striking is legit?

Sonnen has decent hands at best. Hypothetically if the UFC implemented a no grappling rule Sonnen's face would look like Wandy's. I challenge you to highlight one other good striking performance by Chael in recent history?

You wanna hate on Sonnen soooo bad that now you're bringing up hypothetical situations that couldn't happen.

His weakness was bjj, he's gone out and proven that he can tap guys out. He played the striking game either Anderson silva and in the first fight tagged him up. Second time he got cleaned out.

Im no sonnen nut-hugger but i cant stand people that will say anything to hate on a guy.
-2 # Lorchlight 2013-08-24 07:18
Are you retarded or simply scared of abstractions? In a multi - faceted sport like MMA that incorporates virtually every method of unarmed combat how exactly would you go about isolating a singular dimension? Maybe use a hypothetical.. derp. It's called language, my friend.

He's making a case for Sonnen's "good hands" and I'm countering it. Your argument would make sense if I were trying to claim he wasn't a decent fighter only to employ the previous hypothetical. But I'm not which makes your reply completely invalid.

Again, I challenge you to highlight one good striking performance by Chael outside his 1st fight with Silva in recent history? You can't because he isn't a legit striker. You're also dead wrong about his BJJ. Chael never had a problem submitting people. His weakness was defensive BJJ. Him subbing Stan from top and pulling guard against Shogun doesn't show improvement in grappling defense.
+1 # PeteDaMeat 2013-08-25 00:42
Im retarded AND scared of abstractions.

How ya like them apples Nancy?

You can call my "argument" invalid if you want to but you're just some nerd bitchin about a grown man.

I don't argue in the internet, I just call BS earn i see it.
0 # PeteDaMeat 2013-08-24 02:50
Quoting Lorchlight:
Or Babalu, Michael Bisping, Damien Maia, Jeremy Horn and quite a few others. Sonnen is overrated as fuck. He's a good fighter but without the mouth piece none of you would care. This is 100% fact because no one cared until the build up to the Silva fight. I lived through this shit and I'm guessing you did too so stop the BSing Sonnen "fans"

If you fucks would just admit you're enamored by his personality and not his fighting style of record people would take you and him more seriously. People give Sonnen shit because him and his fans are constantly trying to make us believe this fabricated history about his career.

Like Jones said before their fight. Sonnen has 1 gear. Stop trying to sell us on him being a great

He said recent career dummy. I came around on Sonnen when he kicked the dog shit outta Nate Marquardt. I thought Andy was gonna smoke him but really became a fan when he took it to the champ and almost took hone the belt.

Is he complete as a fighter? Nah but to just hate on a guy and his fans is just bush league.
-2 # Lorchlight 2013-08-24 07:29
I know he said in recent history. I named 2 recent and then took the liberty of mentioning his last few losses in LHW.

Hating is a lame term. So when Sonnen and his fans employ the same tactics are they bush league, or simply marks and trolls? Many don't respect Sonnen fans because they are just marks. Sonnen has been fighting the same way for his entire career. Where were his legion of WEC fans?

You almost proce my point by stating you became a fan AFTER the Nate Marquardt fight when his previous fight against Yushin Okami was 1000x times more exciting and showcased his entire skill set. I actually was excited about Chael then, but you and his new found fans weren't because he didn't cut a promo afterward. There have been dozens of Chael Sonnen's in the UFC and MMA at large but all go under the radar because without the self promo they are rather boring to watch. You know it as do I. Guessing you're a huge Askren fan too right? didn't think so .
+5 # Connor 2013-08-23 13:14
I always thought of Shogun as the greatest light heavyweight of all time but that is probly going to be taken by Jon Jones in about another years time. But nothing can ever replace the 2005 GP. If Jon Jones were in Shogun's shoes during that time no way in hell he would have won.

Shogun #1 LHW OAT.
-2 # Wrestle_Fuck 2013-08-23 15:51
TL;DR lolol.

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