MMA Ratings Podcast

July 28, 2020

UFC Fight Island: "Shogun" Rua Only Has A Couple Fights Left, So Let's Make The Most of Them

By Adam Martin

In the co-main event of the fourth and final Fight Island event in Abu Dhabi, MMA legend Mauricio "Shogun" Rua sent longtime rival Antonio Rogerio Nogueira into retirement off of a loss. In a wild fight between the two veterans of the sport, Rua did just enough to edge out a split decision on the judges' scorecards. It was the third time these two have fought, and all three times Shogun came out on top. Nogueira officially retired after the fight, and Shogun admitted that he will soon follow him.

The former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion and former PRIDE FC middleweight Grand Prix champion, Rua is undoubtedly one of the greatest MMA fighters of all time. But like all great fighters, he's getting old and is finally recognizing that he doesn't have much time left in the sport. The 38-year-old Rua admitted during fight week that he only expected to have two or three more fights in his legendary, Hall of Fame career. Nogueira was the first of those, meaning Shogun only has one or two fights left.
The UFC should try to make the most of these last fights in Shogun's career. In recent fights, Shogun has been paired with fighters such as Paul Craig and Tyson Pedro, younger fighters who were expected to beat Shogun and make their names off of him. Shogun was able to upset Pedro and draw with Craig, which landed him this legends' fight against Nogueira, which he also won. For his final two fights, the UFC needs to pair Shogun with veteran fighters such as Nogueira, not up-and-comers.

Here are some options for the last or final two fights of Shogun's legendary MMA career:

Anderson Silva

I think this is honestly the perfect fight for both guys. Silva is 45 and the oldest fighter in the UFC right now, and he only has a few fights left himself. What better way for both men to potentially go out than to fight each other in what would be a matchup between two of the greatest strikers to ever lace up the four-ounce MMA gloves? Silva and Shogun have a long and storied history with each other, having been former teammates at Chute Box way back in the day. They are two of the greatest Brazilian fighters ever, and both fighters have expressed an interest in fighting each other in the past, so now is the perfect time to finally book this fight.

Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza

Another legend of the sport, Jacare has competed at both 185 lbs and 205 lbs in recent years, and a fight against Shogun would be a lot of fun. Both men have excellent standup, but we all know Souza has one of the most dominant ground games of all time. Then again, Shogun can hold his own on the ground as well. At this point in this career, it's hard to consider the 40-year-old Jacare a title contender, but instead of being used as a gatekeeper for up-and-comers, I'd rather see Souza get matched up with someone like Shogun. Again, it's a matchup between two Brazilian legends, and it sounds like a fan-friendly fight.

Gokhan Saki

Another legendary striker, the 36-year-old Saki only has two fights in the UFC, and he is just 1-1. However, we all know his striking acumen as a kickboxer, and a fight against Shogun has fireworks written all over it. Saki wouldn't take the fight to the ground and Shogun likely would stand and bang with him as well. It's hard to say how serious Saki is about his MMA career at this point, given that he hasn't fought in two years, but taking on Shogun in a matchup between striking legends sounds like an exciting fight that could entice him back into the Octagon.
Mauricio "Shogun" Rua is one of the greatest fighters to ever step into the Octagon, and unlike others who held on for too long, it seems like he's recognized that he doesn't have much time left in the sport. So instead of chewing him and spitting him out like the sport does to many other legends, the UFC matchmakers should book him against other veterans such as the names I mentioned above. If Shogun really only has a couple fights left in his career, we need to make the most of it.

UFC on ESPN 14
Antonio Rogerio Nogueira vs. Mauricio "Shogun" Rua: Mauricio "Shogun" Rua def. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28).

UFC Fight Night on ESPN 14: Whittaker vs. Till took place July 25, 2020 at Flash Forum in Yas Island, Abu Dhabi.

Click HERE for more UFC on ESPN 14 Post-Fight Analysis

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