UFC Fight Island 3: Shogun Rua Insists He Has Just Two or Three Fights Left

Years ago, Mauricio Rua — Shogun, to a generation of MMA fans who grew up watching his legend emerge in Japan’s PRIDE — made a promise to his wife. He’d retire, he said, after two more fights.

He broke that promise. Of course, he also went on to win the UFC’s light heavyweight champion. So it’s hard to blame him. But he’s renewed his vow to retire soon

“I broke it, but now it’s real,” he told Cageside Press at the UFC Fight Island 3 virtual media day Tuesday. “Now, two or three fights, I stop.”

Last time he said that, there were 15 or 16 more fights. But, he reiterated, just two or three more, and the legend that is Shogun will call it a career. And what a career it has been. Wins over Lyoto Machida, Alistair Overeem, Rampage Jackson, Kevin Randleman, and Chuck Liddell. All in their prime. Fights against Jon Jones, Alexander Gustafsson, and one of the all-time great battles, with Dan Henderson.

There’s a lot to look back on, even with a few more fights left.

First up in those remaining bouts, a trilogy fight with Antonio Rogerio Nogueira. “Lil Nog,” as he’s also known. One half of the legendary Nogueira brothers, and a fighter Shogun has defeated twice before — once in PRIDE, once in the UFC.

Despite holding two wins over his fellow Brazilian, Shogun didn’t hesitate when asked to take the third fight — which is expected to be Nogueira’s retirement bout.

“I accepted this fight because I know Rogerio wanted this fight,” Rua explained. “And he talked to Dana White for this fight, UFC talked to my manager. I wanted this fight too, because I have motivation for fighting Rogerio.”

That motivation may be at least in part looking to get the taste of his last fight out of his mouth. Shogun battled it out with Paul Craig at UFC Sao Paulo last November, a fight that was judged a draw. Many felt Rua should have won, however.

“Everybody saw that I won the fight, but it’s not under our control. Unfortunately, we lose a lot with a decision like that, it has an impact. But what can we do? It’s not in our control. It’s upsetting,” he admitted.

This weekend may be one of the last times fight fans ever see a pair of PRIDE legends go head-to-head. And lest you think Shogun has softened any over the years, he said he’d gladly bring back the Japanese ruleset if he possible.

“If I could, I would bring back PRIDE rules with foot stomps and soccer kicks,” he said Tuesday.

Mauricio “Shogun” Rua meets Antonio Rogerio Nogueira in the co-main event of UFC Fight Island 3 (UFC on ESPN 14) this Saturday, July 25. The card airs live on ESPN (TSN in Canada).