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Question of the Day: Can “Shogun” Rua Seize His Last Chance to Show Up In Shape?


(ESPN talks redemption with "Shogun" Rua.)

While much has been made about the ‘dazzle me or hang ‘em up’ ultimatum that Dana White issued Chuck Liddell in the press, the man across from him in the Octagon is also in an obviously dire situation.  Mauricio “Shogun” Rua is 1-1 in the UFC and has yet to look like he belongs in a light heavyweight division thick with talented fighters.  But unlike Liddell, Rua’s problem isn’t that he’s slowing down as a natural side effect of age.  Instead he seems to have lost his explosiveness while at the same time developing the cardio of a toddler.

There are two commonly offered explanations for why this happened to the man who looked like Pride’s best 205-pounder just a couple years ago.

1) Knee injuries, followed by surgeries and rehab, have left him with too little time to train hard, resulting in him fighting at far less than 100%.

2) Now fighting in the UFC and subject to actual drug tests, he has to perform without the oft-rumored pharmaceutical assistance that was said to be rampant in Pride.


The first explanation is rooted more in provable fact, while the second one just feels true to many people who can’t think of any other reason why a guy who was a monster in Japan is suddenly a kitten in the U.S.  Naturally, Rua points to the first explanation, and if we’re giving him the benefit of the doubt we have to admit that he has a point.

But whatever good will “Shogun” had built up in his Pride days evaporated when he wheezed his way through a bout with Mark Coleman, who looked like he might keel over at any moment himself.  Liddell may have to “dazzle” Dana White in order to prove that he’s not too far past his prime, but Rua is still a young man.  He has to demonstrate without a doubt that his struggles are behind him.  It won’t be enough simply to hang with Liddell.  He has to dismantle him.  If it goes the distance he needs to end the fight looking like he could go three more rounds.  

Because if he doesn’t.  If he gasses out or gets knocked out, it gets very difficult to justify his continued presence in the UFC.  It also lends credence to the theory that performance-enhancers were responsible for his success in Pride.  In other words, “Shogun” needs to show up looking like this guy, sans the soccer kicks and face stomps:

Against a still dangerous Chuck Liddell fighting for his professional life, that’s not so easy.  Does "Shogun" still have it in him, or will he become another cautionary tale?

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Kimbo's Bread- April 16, 2009 at 7:18 am
Anybody who argues against the fact that Rua's knee surgeries are at the root of his cardio-related problems is an idiot!
WalksInTheDarkness- April 15, 2009 at 4:00 pm
Did I suggest that another fighter was a credible source. No. I suggested that a credible source would be a relevant fighter coming forward and confessing that they had historically taken performance enhancing substances.

The reason I suggest a relevant fighter is that they wouldn't be looking for publicity or money and thus their confession would be more credible. For example, if Brock Lesnar or Frank Mir came forward and admitted to taking steroids or historically taken them in order to improve his performances then I would be willing to believe them. On the other hand a fighter on their way out of the business or in the middle of selling their book or it's film rights I'd be less willing to believe their words.
WalksInTheDarkness- April 15, 2009 at 3:54 pm
Yeah and Rampage talks about it being "black on black crime". He appeals to the lowest common denominator. The guy craves attention and spent an awful lot of his PRIDE FC days being dominated by the guys out of Chute Boxe. Of course he'll talk badly about them. But yet again, all I'm hearing from Rampage is hearsay. He doesn't have proof. No one does, not until they actually come out and say, "Yes, I did take steroids."

Actually, chances are you will be famous and chances are people will tune in. I got sick of hearing about Machida having never lost a round during his time in the UFC because he never came close to dismantling his opponents. If he was so dominant, why wasn't he finishing? Then he goes on and puts in a fantastic performance against Thiago Silva. Now I'm very interested in him. I'd personally not bother watching an amazing wrestler sit on a not so good wrestler for 15 minutes. I can see better quality by tuning into the Olympics or watching collegiate wrestling. I don't want to see a poor striking match between guys trying to land point scoring strikes rather than match finishing blows. If I wanted that I'd watch olympic boxing. I want mixed martial arts. I want to be entertained. I don't want to snooze as a wrestling biased organisation allows one fighter to be laid on by another. I paid my $45 to see an event, to be entertained and that's what I want. I don't care about their 15-0 record, I want to know how many fights they've actually finished. I hate hearing fighter's cornermen warning their guy that the oposition appears to be willing to sit on them and little else. I love seeing fighters continuing to work for submission holds and never staying still. What can I say, I miss yellow cards and having inactivity punished.

As for the difference between "running away" and mobility is how you use it. A ring rope's flexibility allows a fighter to glide around his opponent and move into a better position to attack. A solid cage wall means that heavier fighters can squash smaller fighters up against a wall (and sometimes do little else as seen in Cheick Kongo's knee to groin fest against Mirko Filipovic). It's significantly more difficult to back someone up against a corner post in a ring especially when there is the option of taking your opponent to the mat.
Dmonicideals- April 14, 2009 at 6:47 pm
And, Darkness, if you can't see the difference between fighters staying mobile, and this stupid "runnning away" bullshit, go back to watching whatever the fuck you watched before you started watching MMA, because you clearly don't enjoy watching it, and MMA doesn't need fans with mindsets as simple as yours.
Dmonicideals- April 14, 2009 at 6:45 pm
"After all, welcome to the UFC where it's all about winning and not necessarily entertaining."

I can honestly say that if I was a fighter, winning is ALWAYS going to come 1st. Why wouldn't it? What fighter says "I going to go in there and make sure it is exciting, even if I get the shit kicked out of me." None would be my guess. The first thing on any serious fighters mind, above and beyond anything else, is winning. If you go out and have 15 of the most exciting fights ever, if you don't win the fights, you are still fucking 0-15, and chances are you aren't ever going to be famous. If you want nonstop entertainment, go watch Days of our lives, or fucking WWE, if you want to watch FIGHTS, stick with MMA.


"Proof in the form of a confession by a fighter that has used drugs (and is still relevant in the fight game and not just trying to make a buck.)"

Would you consider another fighter a credible source? Because Rampage has said that Chute Box was infamous for its meth use. I am not saying that they DID, but that is what he said, and he was backstage, so he would know. I am willing to give Shogun the benefit of teh doubt here, but if he comes in looking like he did against Coleman, Chuck doesn't have to worry about impressively destroying Rua, because it won't be a challenge.
WalksInTheDarkness- April 14, 2009 at 3:59 pm
Use "mobility", surely you meant "run away"? In a ring you have much more mobility with the ring ropes to bounce off and glide around your opponents. In a cage you have a larger area with solid barriers to pin your opponent up against.

The Cage is designed for American (predominantly wrestling) fighters and comes from a time when fighters would back other fighters up against a solid barrier (the cage wall) and take their opponents to the ground more easily. In a ring you actually have to be a vaguely skilled wrestler in order to drop an opponent and not just strong.

And as for Anderson Silva doing well it's not surprising when so many of his opponents come out with the fantastic game plan of "I'll stand and bang with him." If you want to get a win against Anderson (and bore the heck out of a lot of people) spend the entire fight taking him to the mat. You won't TKO, KO or submit him that way but the UFC will score you massively for it. After all, welcome to the UFC where it's all about winning and not necessarily entertaining.

As for steroids in PRIDE FC, I ask for one thing: proof. Proof in the form of video or photographic evidence. Proof in the form of a confession by a fighter that has used drugs (and is still relevant in the fight game and not just trying to make a buck.) I haven't seen any yet and it's never been brought front and centre so until then it's all hearsay.
MMA Wannabe- April 14, 2009 at 3:12 pm
@jdavis

Agreed.

To the little anonymous prick who leads off his whole "intelligent argument" with "UFC IS GAY LOLOLOLOL", maybe if pride fighters had more than one strategy rather than, corner-the-guy-knock-him-down-stomp-him, then maybe they would have done well in the UFC. Guys like Rampage and Anderson do just fine because they adjusted and didn't whine that their opponents could actual use mobility to get out of trouble.

Go back to boxing.
handsofstone- April 14, 2009 at 2:12 pm
iceman by 1st rd KO!!!!
Darkside- April 14, 2009 at 2:04 pm
I know Chuck is on his way out, but I hope he knocks out Rua. There was no excuse for the way he looked against Coleman. If he gets that winded that quickly while fighting an 80 year old man, what's gonna happen when he has to start fighting some real competition?
the mocker- April 14, 2009 at 1:54 pm
I had to laugh when Joe Rogan called him Ninja for his fight against forrest because they had the same build. hahaha.for fucks sake this guy was considered # 1 for a while. someone get this fucker in the gym already. oh and Chuck, how about some take downs maybe in this fight. I'm just sayin
jdavis- April 14, 2009 at 1:33 pm
"am i the only one who thinks that the pride ring and the ufc octagon play a massive part on the ability of the fighters to execute their game plan?"

You would think that a professional fighter would be able to adjust their fight strategy to a number of different variables, I mean it's still MMA whether it's in a ring or a cage they just have to gameplan differently. Shogun's problems haven't been gameplan problems though they have been performance problems.
emo sux - April 14, 2009 at 1:23 pm
I dont know what kind of rufied out toddlers you chill with, but some of the ones Ive seen have mad cardio!
joachim- April 14, 2009 at 12:59 pm
cardio of a toddler? thats a crappy example, toddlers can run around for hours.
825IVER- April 14, 2009 at 12:25 pm
Shogun moves real slow likes hes on drugs nowadays.
ATOMDANGER- April 14, 2009 at 11:46 am
I am sick of all this talk about Shogun being on steroids,
he fought twice in the U.S. for Pride and looked great in both of those fights. He knee barred Kevin Randleman who was a complete roided out monster and he KOed Overeem. Both fights in the U.S. and both fights he was drug tested and passed.

So to everybody who says he was on juice and thats why he doesn't look good think again. Not only that but steroids DO NOT give you cardio, wtf. Maybe if you shot up right before the fight?

Anonymous- April 14, 2009 at 11:06 am
Not to mention Fedor
Anonymous- April 14, 2009 at 11:05 am
"Wanderlei Silva and Mauricio Rua were deadly in Pride because they where both roided out of there minds. No drug test = fighters doing anything they can to get the advantage. The only fighter that has come over from Pride that is worth two shits is Rampage, the rest of them are washed up has beens without the performance enhancing drugs."

Yes, noone is more of a washed up has been than Anderson Silva.
Anonymous- April 14, 2009 at 10:53 am
Wanderlei Silva and Mauricio Rua were deadly in Pride because they where both roided out of there minds. No drug test = fighters doing anything they can to get the advantage. The only fighter that has come over from Pride that is worth two shits is Rampage, the rest of them are washed up has beens without the performance enhancing drugs.
johnnycobrakai- April 14, 2009 at 10:46 am
yes. mauricio shogun rua actually.
Juice- April 14, 2009 at 10:45 am
...and the fact that you took the time to fucking rant about something so stupid. Impressive, moron.
Juice- April 14, 2009 at 10:42 am
...and the fact the you took the time to fucking rant about something so stupid. Impressive, moron.
Anonymous- April 14, 2009 at 10:41 am
lol,i swear i thought wandy killed some asian dude in pride with them stomps(j/k) . it the one where he he was holdin the ropes and just stomping away, i think rampage was commentating that fight .
Anonymous- April 14, 2009 at 10:33 am
those kicks were ridiculos did anyone ever die in pride?
NIGHTRIDER- April 14, 2009 at 10:28 am
@Bryan
Yeah but some have looked better like Rampage or Anderson Silva.

Maybe its an equal playing ground, if you know what I mean...
Anonymous- April 14, 2009 at 10:28 am
TeaKneeTeaGasSun

you are dumb, if anything the ropes help WRESTLERS utilize strikers by using the bounce back as a very quick shoot and/or grec clinch. you are just bad, quiet now.

the only reason why pride fighters couldn't get out of the way of attacks, was because they were simply bad....
just bad,
easily you could hug and clinch...
but none had a respectable stand up.
i.e chuck taking down wanderlei so easily was because of chucks respected stand up.. so you see
you only look as good as your competition makes you.
and i just made you look bad.
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