Mauricio Rua is finally ready to walk away from the sport that has consumed most of his life.
After years of being dogged by retirement questions, the 41-year-old former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion will make his last outing in the cage next month.
Rua (27-13-1 MMA, 11-11-1 UFC), known to most MMA fans as “Shogun,” has announced he will retire following his UFC 283 fight with Ihor Potieria. Which happens on January 21st. Jeunes Arena in Rio de Janeiro with the main card, which airs on pay-per-view on ABC and ESPN+ following the prelims.
“For sure this is my last fight,” Rua told Brazilian news outlet Combat. “And I don’t put the pressure on me anymore. I have an obligation to give my best and that’s what I think.
Rua made his MMA debut in November 2002 and only needed a few years to rise to the top of the sport. He earned much fanfare in Japan during his time under the now-defunct Pride FC banner, becoming the youngest Grand Prix champion in the company’s history when, at age 23, he defeated Quinton Jackson, Alistair Overeem, Ricardo Arena and participated through the likes of others.
After the UFC purchased PRIDE FC in 2007, Rua went on to compete in the Octagon, and in May 2020 became the Light Heavyweight Champion within five bouts by a first-round knockout of Lyoto Machida at UFC 113. passed the torch to Jon Jones, and the decade that followed was full of ups and downs.
Rua went on a run from August 2015-July 2020, where he lost just one fight out of seven, but it was clear that after suffering countless injuries – especially to the knees – he had slowed down and lost his edge as an elite fighter. Gave. He has lost his last two bouts against Ovince St. Preux and Paul Craig, but he was eager to push on and complete the final fight on his UFC contract.
UFC president Dana White said he would oblige Rua to give him the remaining fights on his deal, and Rua said he would do everything in his power to make sure he goes out on a high note.
“I am happy with this bout – it will be my farewell bout and I am happy that it is in my country, at home,” said Rua. “I’m happy. I’m grateful to the UFC for being a pioneer in the UFC. I’ve been there 15 years – no one else has been in the UFC that long. I’m grateful for everything.
“I’ve been fighting for 20 years, started really early, and have been fighting at the highest level for many years – against the best since 2005. So I am a complete person and I am grateful to God for whatever I have achieved in my career. Being like this, it gives me pause at the right times.
For more information on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 283.