Mauricio Rua will make the walk for the final time when he takes on Ihor Potieria at UFC 283 in Rio de Janeiro. The Brazilian made his name by winning the Pride middleweight Grand Prix in 2005.
He would go on to sign for the UFC and become the promotion light heavyweight champion. Ahead of his final fight he told Sherdog that there would be no coming back for exhibition matches or returning from retirement,
“That’s guaranteed. I’m not going to look for boxing matches or super fights. I´m totally satisfied with my 20 year career. My goal now is dedicate time to my family and also give more attention to my Shogun Team academies.”
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Rua has been with the UFC since 2007 and held the promotion’s light heavyweight title but he has no doubt as to what the crowning achievement of his career was,
“Without a doubt it was August 28th, 2005, the day I won the Pride Grand Prix. I entered as underdog and finished as champion in a tournament with 16 fighters, which was considered by many as the toughest Grand Prix ever.”
‘Shogun’ has faced the likes of Dan Henderson, Jon Jones, Chuck Liddell, Lyoto Machida and Alistair Overeem but the one fight he regrets missing out on was a Pride super fight against Fedor Emelianenko. The Russian beat Mirko Crocop on the same night that Rua won the middleweight Grand Prix but there paths never crossed,
“After I won the light heavyweight and he won the heavyweight grand prix, the promoters started to talk about a super fight, but it never happened. It would have been an honor to fight Fedor when we both were in our primes. In my opinion, Fedor is among the three best pound-for-pound fighters ever.”
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It sounds like he intends to dedicate himself to coaching once he hangs up the gloves. ‘Shogun’ says he is not just interested in producing elite fighters but wants to be open to aspiring martial artists of all abilities,
“Our goal is not to make MMA champions but to use martial arts to improve the quality of life in an atmosphere where we have space for all ages,” he said.
In his final fight he will be taking on an opponent 15 years his junior. Potieria has an 18-3 record but was knocked out in the second round by Nicolae Negumereanu at UFC 277 in July. At this stage of his career Rua is always going to be fighting younger opponents but will be desperate to go out on a high after losing his last two.
But even if Rua can secure the perfect send off by beating the Ukrainian he doesn’t have anything special planned. All the 41 year old wants to do is put on one final ‘great fight’ for the fans,
“My only plan is try to give a great last fight to the fans. I’m a shy person. I don’t like tributes or anything like that.”