Former UFC light heavyweight champion Mauricio “Shogun” Rua believes the promotion should adopt the rules from the defunct Pride FC.
Rua won the 2005 Pride middleweight Grand Prix championship, defeating Ricardo Arona by first-round KO at Pride Final Conflict on August 28, 2005. During his four-year Pride career, Rua lost only one fight — at Pride 31 on February 26, 2006, he suffered a first-round TKO loss to Mark Coleman. He left the promotion with an impressive 12-1 record.
Since making his UFC debut against Forest Griffin at UFC 76 on September 22, 2007, a fight he lost by rear naked choke submission, Mauricio Rua has gone 5-6, including back-to-back losses to Alexander Gustafsson and Chael Sonnen. Included in his win column is a first-round KO victory over Lyoto Machida for the light heavyweight championship at UFC 112 on May 8, 2010, handing the Dragon his first loss in 17 fights. Rua’s overall professional record, dating back to November 8, 2002 at Meca World Vale Tudo 7, is 21-8.
The 32-year-old Brazilian told MMA Junkie that the change in rules from Pride to the UFC have held him back. Rua said he believes elbows are more dangerous than the stomps and soccer kicks allowed in Pride.
“For sure, the new rules hinder me,” Mauricio Rua said. “I think that the rule set from when I fought in Japan was safer than today’s rules. Elbows hurt a lot more than stomps. I had adapted to their rules. So when I came to the UFC, to get comfortable, it took some time. And, truthfully, my fight style relied greatly on stomps and soccer kicks. So to me, the greatest minus when coming to the UFC was the change in rules.”
Rua, who is scheduled for a co-main event match against James Te Huna at UFC Fight Night 33, said he hopes the unified MMA rules will bring back the old Pride rules.
“I hope that one day, the UFC can legalize foot stomps and soccer kicks,” he said. “It would be great. I miss it. During the Pride era, I have no recollection of anyone getting hurt badly from stomps or soccer kicks. Elbows, in truth, really do hurt an opponent.”
UFC Fight Night 33 take place Saturday, December 7 at Brisbane Entertainment Queensland, Australia. Due to the time difference, the event will air Friday, December 6, on Fox Sports 1 in the US.