It’s been just over a year since Shogun Rua and Paul Craig first met in the octagon. And the legendary former UFC light heavyweight champ is rather surprised by how quickly the pair’s rematch at UFC 255 has come together. “I knew [the rematch] was going to eventually happen because we drew our last fight,” Shogun (27-11-1) told Cageside Press during the event’s media day this week, adding that it came together “a little faster than I expected.”
Not surprisingly, Rua believes he won that first meeting. “I didn’t agree with the result, I think I won the fight, a lot of people think I won the fight.” What puzzles the PRIDE legend is the criteria judges now use to score fights. “It’s very hard to understand the criteria and to understand what criteria led them to score a draw in that fight. There is no consistency, but I’m here to prove that I can beat him and that’s that.”
Rua, for his part, would prefer the old PRIDE scoring system, still employed by RIZIN, ONE Championship, and other promotions, where scoring is based on the entire fight — not round by round.
Heading into Saturday’s rematch with Craig, Shogun boasts a 5-1 record in rematches. His only loss in his six rematches to date came against Dan Henderson. Asked about the secret to his success when fighting opponents for the second time, the Brazilian explained that “when you do a rematch, you’re able to study your opponent a little better. He, of course can still do better as well, but I don’t really know. But I’m happy with it. And I hope that I’ll be able to win one more rematch Saturday.”
What he needs to do differently, Shogun added, is to “be more decisive, and make the rounds a little more clear. That’s basically what I have to do.”
In his past few trips to the octagon, Shogun has discussed hanging up the gloves, suggesting he has maybe two fights left in his storied career. Ahead of UFC 255, he wasn’t ready to state whether that was still the case. “Every time I go into the fight, I look at my upcoming fight as the most important thing, kind of my last one,” he explained. “But I really don’t think about it, and I don’t make plans on when I’m going to retire or how many how many fights I’ll do. I just take it a fight at a time. And after the fight, I’ll think about it. But I’m happy to continue with my career for now.”
UFC 255 takes place Saturday, November 21 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada. The main card airs live on PPV following online and televised prelims.