(Video courtesy of YouTube/JustinThoj)
If you’re part of the growing contingent of MMA fans who aren’t convinced that UFC light heavyweight champ Mauricio “Shogun” Rua is resilient enough to gut out a win against a tough raw talent like Jon Jones, the video above of the then-22-year-old former Chuteboxe fighter taking on future teammate Evangelista “Cyborg” Santos (no, the other Cyborg) might change your mind.
The fight, which took place at Meca World Vale Tudo 9 August 1, 2003, saw the young future champion fight through the adversity of getting dropped by his opponent and manhandled for much of the opening round to patiently recover, improve his position and finish Santos on the ground with strikes. Sure, that was eight years ago, and Shogun was much younger then, but he also has a ton more experience and ring savvy than he did then. He has six years more cage seasoning than Jones, and has fought for a title three times in his career, which are two factors that could help play a deciding role in their fight on March 19.