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'A true samurai': MMA stars react to Maurício 'Shogun' Rua's farewell

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Mauricio Rua leaves to fight for the 42nd and last time this Saturday, when he enters the Jeunesse Arena to face Ihor Potieria in one last battle for the legendary Brazilian fighter.

Shogun, who faces Potieria on the preliminary card at UFC 283, has been beating the best of the best in the light heavyweight division for over a decade. He reached his career peak when he won the iconic 2005 PRIDE GP in Japan, one of the most closely contested tournaments of all time in MMA, and years later he rose again to become UFC champion.

As he prepares to leave the sport for good, many of Brazil’s best fighters have paid tribute to a legend that will never be forgotten. MMA Fighting spoke with former champions, teammates and MMA stars who recalled Rua’s best moments and wished him well as he puts his gloves down.

Wanderlei Silvaformer training partner and PRIDE champion: “It’s very easy to talk about my brother Mauricio Shogun. I have followed his career since the beginning in the academy. An incredible fighter, one of the best fighters I’ve ever seen train and fight. His legacy will last forever. He definitely represented Brazil well. He is undoubtedly one of the bravest and most skillful [fighters] That I have ever seen.

“The moment that most impressed me, among all the greats, was when he won the GP against [Ricardo] Arona in Japan, and one of the greatest fights in MMA history against [Antonio Rogerio Nogueira] ‘Minotourus.’ I am proud to have trained and watched many of his fights live. Congratulations brother, what a beautiful career you have.”

Rudimar Fedrigo, founder of Chute Boxe: “Shogun is one of the best fighters that Chute Boxe has ever produced, without a doubt. One of his main achievements was winning the PRIDE Grand Prix in Japan. A tournament with the best [light heavyweights] on the planet and became champion, so Shogun certainly wrote his name in the history of the sport.”

Anderson Silvaformer UFC Middleweight Champion: “Shogun is a great champion, a true samurai.”

Jose AldoFormer UFC and WEC Featherweight Champion: “Shogun leaves a gigantic legacy in the sport. He is from a previous generation, and I could see him being champion in PRIDE against Arona in the final, and then arriving at the UFC and stumbling at the beginning, but being champion by beating Lyoto [Machida]. Shogun’s legacy is gigantic, a great athlete we have and who will retire after UFC Rio. I wish him luck in his future endeavors after the fight.”

Rafael Cordeiroformer coach of Rua: “Shogun leaves a legacy for each generation of fighters in this sport, the old and the ones to come, that discipline and willpower can take you far. He’s still one of the old school guys, still competing and showing kids that life is easier when you know what you were born to do. His career was brilliant and he always made us proud.

“He lifted up the name of [Chute Boxe] team and my name wherever he went, and it’s always a pleasure to see Shogun fight. He will certainly be missed in the sport, but know that his name will not be forgotten. When talking about MMA and anything goes, you can’t leave his name out of the same sentence. I love you, champ.”

Photo Gallery: Mauricio “Shogun” Rua Photos

Mauricio Rua knocks out Lyoto Machida
Esther Lin, MMA fighter

Murilo Streetformer PRIDE fighter (and Shogun’s older brother): “My brother’s legacy is that he was champion in the two biggest organizations in the world, UFC and PRIDE. No one has ever done this. Congratulations to him and I wish him success in the future.”

Deiveson FigueiredoUFC flyweight champion: “I’ve always followed Shogun all my life, since I was a kid, during the PRIDE days. Shogun and his brother [Murilo Rua] always puts on a show. If I’m a fighter it’s because they motivated me a lot.

“Shogun leaves a huge legacy. He encouraged many children, and still does. It’s sad, but it’s the end. One day it will be me, it will be my turn to retire, but I want to thank him for everything he has done for the sport. If I’m a fighter now, it’s through him.”

Renato MoicanoUFC lightweight: “Shogun is a legend. For me, his big moment was being champion in PRIDE and UFC, and in the fight against Kevin Randleman, when he went for a kneebar from half guard, which was not common at the time. I wish you luck in retirement. He is a great legend who inspired many Brazilians.”

Raphael AssunçãoUFC bantamweight: “Everyone knows that Shogun is a legend of the sport and what he has done all these years in PRIDE and in the UFC. One day he came to Atlanta with his team to give a seminar, right after winning the PRIDE GP, and I looked up to him. My eyes lit up looking at him since he’s a little older than me. I’m a huge Shogun fan to this day. I had the opportunity to chat with him, we even fought a few times on the same card, so I have great memories with him. Great legend of the sport.”

Gleison TibauPFL welterweight: “It’s gratifying to talk about Shogun for everything he did for the sport. His beautiful history in PRIDE, so young but putting on a show against PRIDE veterans. He gave us joy with so many great moments in PRIDE. It was exciting to see him in PRIDE and then in the UFC, becoming champion. He will never be forgotten.”

Elizeu ZaleskiUFC welterweight and former training partner: “Shogun was and remains an idol that I have. I’ve always been motivated by his fights, since the PRIDE days. I always loved his style, and the fact that he was also from Paraná meant something to me. I had the honor of training with him for some time at CM System and being his friend. He’s a fantastic person. …. One of the moments that most impressed me was his second fight against Lyoto, when he won the belt. Lyoto’s hype was through the roof with the way he was crushing everyone, and [Rua] was able to break this and become champion. I am happy for everything Shogun has done for the sport and what he will still do outside the cage.”

Shogun Rua will seek revenge for his previous loss to Dan Henderson at UFC Fight Night 38.

Mauricio Rua vs Dan Henderson
Esther Lin, MMA fighter

Rafael Cavalcanteformer Strikeforce champion: “His aggressiveness in PRIDE was what always impressed me, his kicks and stomps, knocking everyone out and winning the PRIDE GP against tough opponents. It’s been in my memory ever since. He is a warrior and will put his gloves masterfully inside the cage.”

Marcos Rogerio de LimaUFC heavyweight: “I had the pleasure of helping him in some camps and exchanging some punches. He’s such a nice guy. He was joining the UFC when I started fighting MMA, so I watched a lot of his fights. Three epic moments in his career were Minotouro’s first two fights, and when he became Pride champion. That was breathtaking. So many ethereal moments in MMA history. I wish him all the best.”

Jennifer MaiaUFC flyweight and Chute Boxe fighter: “I was just starting out in the sport when he won the PRIDE GP and would stay up all night to watch PRIDE. His legacy is doing what [none] could, being champion in PRIDE and UFC and writing his name in MMA history.”

Vincent LuqueUFC welterweight: “He has always been an inspiration to me because I also come from Muay Thai and have followed him since the beginning. I remember watching his fights at MECA and then PRIDE, and then UFC. His style inspired many, including me, because he was a finisher, a complete action fighter.

“For me, his most memorable fight was the Dan Henderson fight. Both were great, but the first one was even more special. He represented Brazil very well and became one of the greatest MMA fighters in the world. Few people did what he did in Japan. PRIDE was a historic promotion and whoever was champion there has something more, and what he still did afterwards is undoubtedly one of the greatest of all time.”

In a universe where fighters carry names and nicknames, one word has always been enough for “Shogun”. For the past 21 years, regardless of countries or language barriers, these six letters have immediately brought to mind the image of a champion.

Rua went through killers of the sport at a time when light heavyweights were at their peak in Japan. Knees, stomps and kicks, vicious attacks thrown so easily – Shogun made it all look very simple and very easy.

We will fondly look back on the glorious times of the man who inspired those who came after. Shogun retires to join the pantheon of MMA gods.

Mauricio “Shogun” Rua will retire after UFC 283 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Esther Lin, MMA fighter