Following his disappointing loss to Chael Sonnen at the UFC Fight Night 26 main event, former UFC light heavyweight champion Mauricio “Shogun” Rua has said he is not interested in leaving the sport.
In a press release picked up by MMA Fighting, Rua stated:
I have 11 years in MMA and Vale Tudo, I won everything I always wanted. I achieved everything I dreamed, but I want to do that again. I still want many victories; I still want to become the world champion again. Who decides when I will stop (fighting) or not is myself, no one else. Thank God I’m financially stable, and I keep fighting because I love it.
The loss to Sonnen gave Rua his first losing streak of his professional career. It also marked his first first-round submission loss since turning pro. Despite the setback and just how underwhelming his performance was, Rua's team seemed confident that his training was adequate leading up to the bout.
Leonardo Salomao, Rua’s manager, stated in the release:
Mauricio invested a lot in this camp, trained with the best, went to the United States to learn new techniques, so we decided to maintain the same team. He trained with Freddie Roach in the US, took Jacob Harman to Curitiba, had the support of Glaube Feitosa, Roberto Gordo and Renato Babalu on his corner. He was really well prepared, but Sonnen was better. Mauricio is a winner and I’m sure he will be back.
While cardio has been pointed to by Rua defenders on the various forum boards across the internet following losses, there was no opportunity for an excuse against Sonnen. The fight was only reaching the end of the first round by the time Rua was forced to tap.
The Brazilian stuck to his guns regarding his own future, emphasizing that a loss is no reason to consider a career a failure as a whole:
I’m a big fan of Ayrton Senna, but I didn’t think he was bad when he lost. I was a true fan, I admired him for what he did, winning or losing. His name is in history now and I believe mine will be in the history of MMA. I thank the fans for their words on social media, you are very important for me.
Despite Shogun's assertion that he did his best to prepare for the fight, brother and former cornerman Murilo Rua voiced his own concerns following his brother's loss. In a story from MMA Fighting, “Ninja” stated that his brother "Has a lot of shady persons around him, people trying to take advantage of him."
People from his camp said I wasn’t good for Mauricio because I made him nervous when I was on his corner, and he listened to that, so I decided to leave. If something is wrong I would point it out, I wouldn’t just lie to please him.
Time will tell whether a change of camps, the reintroduction of his brother, or a whole new outlook on fighting can give Rua one last run at the title. For now, the bad taste left from the bitter loss will have to be burdened by Rua's fans and team, as each tries to figure out if there is anything left to salvage from a sinking career.