Mauricio "Shogun" Rua is an absolute legend of mixed martial arts, but he hasn't the easiest run of things over the past two years. Rua is 2-3 since October 2009, which sounds bad until you consider that his three losses came against Lyoto Machida, Jon Jones and Dan Henderson.
But records are records, and Shogun's recent record isn't the best. That's why it's a little more than surprising that Rua, when offered a fight with super-prospect Glover Teixeira, allegedly told Dana White he'd rather be cut than face Teixeira:
“Yeah, he said he’d actually rather be cut, than to have to fight him. Dude, nobody wants to fight this guy. Nobody wants to fight this guy. We’re trying to match this guy up with somebody, but he didn’t mind fighting Brandon Vera. So, he’s fighting Brandon Vera.
“I don’t want to sound like I’m disrespecting Shogun, because I’m not. I’m just telling the truth, you know? It’s verbatim what his people said when we talked to them. And you know me, I tell it like it is. If you don’t want that out in public, then don’t say it to me. Then don’t say it on the phone, because I’m gonna say what was said.”
Interestingly enough, Teixeira's manager told Brazilian news outlet Tatame that the story of Shogun turning down a fight with his client wasn't true.
So what to make of all of this?
For starters, it says a lot about Teixeira's vaunted talents that even a fighter like Rua will decline to face him. In Shogun's defense, much of that is due to the fact that the casual UFC fan has no idea who Teixeira is, which makes the fight a lose-lose situation. If you beat Glover, you beat a complete unknown, and therefore it's not a big accomplishment to the majority of your fans.
But if you lose to Teixeira—and that would have been a distinct possibility, given how tough and skillful the Brazilian is—you lost to a nobody. Teixeira's 16-fight winning streak means nothing to fans who only watch the UFC and don't really pay attention to the rest of the talent-rich mixed martial arts world.
In the end, I can't blame Rua for his decision to turn down a fight with Teixeira. If I were his manager or agent, I would have advised him to do the same thing.
Teixeira may ultimately be the guy who can give Jon Jones a run for his money and his belt, but he's currently just a guy with very little name value. Beating him wouldn't help Shogun's career or help him earn any more money, and at this stage of a legendary career, that's an important thing.
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