I have been scouring not only this forum for the past 24 hours, but other forums as well. And all I have seen from people is them declaring this anything but a win for Mauricio "Shogun" Rua after he dispatched of Mark "The Hammer" Coleman at UFC 93. People have gone to say that he's washed up, his career his done, and things of that nature. Do people even realize how moronic and crazy they seem when sounding off on this issue? Let's break this down.
In a little less than three years, he's had three catastrophic injuries. Not minor injuries, but serious injuries when considering his career and age (27). In February of 2006, he dislocated his elbow against the aforementioned Coleman. In the leadup to his fight against Forrest Griffin back in September of 2007, he ruptured his ACL. In training for a fight against Chuck Liddell in June of 2008, he ruptured his ACL (again!). Think about that. He has suffered two major knee injuries and has had to have two major knee surgeries in the span of just ten months. In most cases, that means your career is over. But not for Shogun.
Then you have to take into account the two guys he has fought since entering the UFC. He fought Forrest Griffin, who is one of the biggest and strongest guys at 205-pounds in the UFC. Griffin also pushes one of the toughest paces in the octagon and it took its toll on an injured and unprepared Shogun seeing as Shogun was going through personal issues in his life. That'll wear down anybody's cardio. Then he had to fight Mark Coleman, probably the biggest guy in the UFC's Light Heavyweight division when you consider just sheer and raw size. Not to mention he's undoubtedly the strongest guy at 205-pounds the UFC has probably ever seen. I'm talking about raw strength here. And the guy is a pure wrestler. That would wear anybody down, I don't care who you are. Throw in the fact that Shogun was coming off of those injuries and while he trained hard, it couldn't prepare him for a fight properly due to the fact he had not been in a fight in 18 months.
When you break everything down, you can understand why Shogun has been struggling lately with not only his cardio, but his impressiveness inside the octagon. Then toss in the fact that he cannot use soccer kicks and foot stomps, which he loves to use. He literally has to evolve and adapt his game to the octagon. That takes not only time, focus, and dedication but also patience. Not just patience from himself and his camp but from the fans as well. I think he's earned the right to adapt his game to what lies in front of him. And he's earned the right of time to do so.
The guy has suffered just three losses in his career and they're to some of the toughest fighters out there. He's lost to Babalu (submission), Coleman (dislocation), and Griffin (submission). But does everyone forget who he's beaten? The guy ran off the most impressive four-fight win streak in the history of MMA. He beat Quinton Jackson, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, Alistair Overeem, and Ricardo Arona to capture the PRIDE 2005 205-pound Grand Prix. At the time, that was unheard of. And it still is unheard of. The only guy that can rival that is Georges St. Pierre when he beat Frank Trigg, Sean Sherk, B.J. Penn, and Matt Hughes in succession.
I think Mauricio Rua has earned the right to be given a second (and third) chance in the UFC. Not just by Dana White, who already offered Shogun a fight against Chuck Liddell (which he accepted), but by us as well. The guy has dazzled us with his pure talent and insane ability to go for the kill that he's spoiled us to the point where anything less than a first round knockout is a disappointment on his part. Even against a guy as tough as Coleman (and as old). Do people forget that Coleman's only knockout losses were to Mirko CroCop and Pete Williams before Shogun did the same to him? It's no easy task to finish Coleman, that's for sure.
So give Rua time. He's earned it. If he comes into his fight against Liddell out-of-shape and looks lackluster, then maybe you can start to ridicule the guy. But until then, just understand that he's coming off of two major knee surgeries, is lacking the explosion he used to have due to said surgeries, and he's trying to gain confidence not just in the octagon but also in his legs again. The man was a vicious striker with his kicks and knees, but now has been reduced to a boxer due to those injuries. Once he gets his explosion back, he'll be fine. At least wait until after the Liddell fight to make a ruling on him and actually hate on his cardio work and the way he looks in a fight.
Injuries are not easy to come back from. And the last thing you get back is the confidence you lost.