The 411 MMA Top 10 08.26.13: Top 10 Shogun Rua Fights
Posted by Alex Rella on 08.26.2013
From his war with Dan Henderson at UFC 139 and his battle with Chuck Liddell to his PRIDE battle with Rampage Jackson and more, 411's Alex Rella counts down the top 10 Shogun Rua fights of all time!
Shogun Rua's Top Ten Fights
What's up everybody, I am Alex Rella and thanks for reading another edition of the MMA Top Ten. This week Mauricio "Shogun" Rua gets the nod. Rua lost in the main event last weekend to Chael Sonnen, so this week we look back at his better moments. While his days at the top of the light heavyweight division are pretty much over, I don't think he should retire like many other writers are calling for. On a side note, I despise when writers that have never fought before try to say when a professional fighter should call a quits. Anyway, Shogun Rua has had a truly legendary career and is one of the best light heavyweights of all time. He is a former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion and 2005 Pride Middleweight Grand Prix Champion. Shogun has plenty of wins over other legends and former champions and hopefully he can add a few more onto his resume before leaving the sport. This week's list is based on fight quality, the significance of the fight in relation to his career, and some of my opinion but I try to stay unbiased as best as I can.
VS Kevin Randleman Pride 32- The only submission win of Shogun's career and a win over a former UFC heavyweight champion.
VS Alistair Overeem Pride Final Conflict 2005- Their first fight was in the 2005 Middleweight Grand Prix semifinals and it was a fun fight. Shogun won by TKO towards the end of the first and moved onto the finals.
VS Mark Coleman UFC 93- Joe Rogan shit on both guys during the commentary, but I liked this fight and it won Fight of the Night too. It was Shogun's first win in the UFC and Coleman's first fight in over two years. Coleman was 17 years older, but it was cool to see how strong he still was as he took Shogun down with ease throughout the fight. Shogun won by TKO with less than thirty seconds left in the fight.
10: VS Alistair Overeem Pride 33
Last weekend both of these fighters took huge losses and are now on the tail ends of their careers, but back in 2007 they were top light heavyweights in Pride. This was Pride's second to last show before being completely absorbed by the UFC and a rematch from the 2005 Middleweight Grand Prix semifinals. They were having a solid back and forth fight for the first couple minutes and eventually Shogun ended up in Overeem's guard. Shogun then stood up, pushed Horsemeat's legs aside, and connected with a nice diving punch. It left Overeem visibly stunned and then Shogun finished it up with ground and pound. I always felt his ground and pound was very underrated and something he should try to utilize more if he keeps his career going.
9: VS Forrest Griffin UFC 134
Shogun Rua's first fight with Forrest Griffin at UFC 76 is one of my all time favorites as Griffin picked up a huge upset over the then number one ranked light heavyweight in the world. They met again four years later in Brazil at UFC 134. This was Shogun's first fight since losing the title to Jon Jones and this was a big fight for Griffin as he was on a two fight win streak. This time Shogun looked completely different as he picked up an early KO. I always wanted to see a rubber match between the two former champions, but now Griffin is retired. Anyway, a big win for Shogun as he avenged a loss and picked up his last win over top competition.
8: VS Quinton Jackson Pride Total Elimination 2005
The Pride 2005 Middleweight Grand Prix was the first high point in Shogun's career and it was a stacked tournament. In the first round he took on Quinton Jackson. This was a bit of a grudge match as Shogun's teammate Wanderlei Silva had his well documented feud with Rampage and Rampage had recently defeated Shogun's brother Murilo Rua in a controversial split decision at Pride 29. Shogun just came out and dominated Jackson from start to finish. Rampage couldn't do anything against him in the clinch as Shogun just wrecked him with knees. Rampage fell to the ground as his ribs were broken and then he was finished off with soccer kicks. A dominant performance as Shogun picked up the biggest win of his career at that point.
7: VS Brandon Vera UFC on Fox 4
This was Shogun's first fight since his fight of the year performance against Dan Henderson in November 2011. He was originally supposed to face Thiago Silva, but he got injured and Shogun stepped up to fight on Fox's main event. There was a little drama as he turned down a fight with Glover Teixeira but it was finally announced that his opponent would be Brandon Vera. Nobody was excited to see Brandon Vera in the main event but with a potential title shot on the line, he came to fight. This was a brutal fight with Vera using his Muay Thai striking to hang in there with one of the best light heavyweights of all time. Both guys were visibly tired by the end of the fight but they kept throwing shots at each other. Shogun would finally put away Vera in the fourth with strikes. It wasn't the fight of the year Joe Rogan kept touting it as but still quite good.
6: VS Ricardo Arona Pride Final Conflict 2005
Ricardo Arona was no joke in Pride and in 2005 he was at his best when he reached the finals after defeating Sakuraba and Wanderlei Silva to reach the 2005 Middleweight Grand Prix finals. Arona was at his best on the ground as he won three ADCC grappling titles. So that made all the more awesome when Shogun out maneuvered him on the ground. Shogun passed his guard, stood up, and just started firing kicks and punches while Arona stayed on his back. Shogun knocked him out and won the tournament.
5: VS Chuck Liddell UFC 97
Shogun picked up his first win in almost two years when he defeated Mark Coleman at UFC 93. He took on another former UFC champ in his next fight at UFC 97. Liddell was on the tail end of his career, but still a very dangerous striker and only one fight removed from title contention. While Shogun's explosive powerful striking is often credited in his rise to the top, his technique was close to perfect in this one. He ducked and weaved and used nice leg kicks to negate Liddell's striking. Then with forty seconds left in the first round, Shogun charged in with a left hand knocking down Liddell and then finishing it up on the ground. He picked up Knockout of the Night and would go on to challenge Machida for the light heavyweight title next.
4: VS Lyoto Machida UFC 113
After the controversial loss at UFC 104, the rematch was almost immediately announced for UFC 113. Not as much of a long epic battle as his first fight with Lyoto Machida, but the judges couldn't steal this one from him. Shogun picked up the Knockout of the Night and of 2010 as he won UFC light heavyweight title with less than a minute and a half in the first round. Shogun became one of only a few to win gold in both the UFC and Pride.
3: VS Lyoto Machida UFC 104
Right now both former UFC light heavyweight champions are at different spots in the rankings, but their first fight at UFC 104 was one of the greats. Machida was going for his first title defense and Shogun got the nod after knocking out Chuck Liddell at UFC 97. Nobody had been able to hurt Machida at this point, Tito Ortiz had his moments but it was nothing substantial. Shogun finally figured it out how to beat him with his constant pressure, excellent striking, and his durable chin. The fight went the distance, but somehow all three judges scored the fight 48-47. This was a very controversial decision as FightMetric showed that Rua landed twice as many shots as Machida. Luckily though, everything righted itself when the rematch took place seven months later at UFC 113 and Shogun won by TKO in the first round. I think the fight quality was just so much better in this one that it gets the edge over the rematch even though Shogun won the title there. Machida is dropping down to middleweight, but it would be cool to see them finish the trilogy at some point.
2: VS Antônio Rogério Nogueira Pride Critical Countdown 2005
Wining the Pride 2005 Middleweight Grand Prix was arguably Shogun Rua's greatest achievement and he had a hard road to the finals. His hardest fight was when he took on Antônio Rogério Nogueira in the second round. Little Nog came into this fight on an eight fight winning streak that included wins over Sakuraba, Overeem, Guy Mezger, and Dan Henderson. The first round was just awesome. It had both guys unloading strikes on each other as Little Nog came out to an early lead as he dropped Shogun. Shogun was able to come back towards the end of the round with his own striking and take downs. One of my favorite parts was how Little Nog blocked his diving punches with his legs. Shogun took the second and third rounds with good ground and pound and he dropped Nogueira in the third. The best fight of the tournament and Fight of the Year in 2005. There was supposed to be a rematch in June, but Little Nog got injured again. It would be cool to see a rematch, but maybe it's for the best that we only have this one.
1: VS Dan Henderson UFC 139
UFC 139 was an absolutely stacked show. It was loaded with great fights from the Facebook prelims all the way to the main event and the main event was awesome as light heavyweight legends and former champions Dan Henderson and Shogun Rua finally fought. Shogun was trying to work his way back to the title and this was Henderson's first fight back in the UFC since his stint in Strikeforce. This turned out to be the best five round fight ever. Henderson exploded on Shogun early on and he was a bloody mess only minutes into the fight. There were multiple times in the first three rounds where Henderson nearly ended it, but Shogun battled back. Shogun took the last two rounds, but he was too exhausted to finish it. Henderson won by unanimous decision 48-47 and was supposed to get a title shot after this. It's usually tough putting a losing fight as someone's number one, but I think most will agree since this is arguably the best fight ever.
So let me know how you guys would rank them or maybe I left a fight out that you thought should be in the top 10.
As always, let me know if there are any topics or fighters you would like to see ranked in the future.
Next week will be the UFC top lightweight title fights.