UFC 128 Fight Card: Shogun Rua's First Three MMA Fights in Brazil

Before he became UFC champion, before he won the PRIDE Grand Prix, Mauricio 'Shogun' Rua started out his career in Brazil.

What better to make you get pumped for the upcoming UFC 128 card headlined by Mauricio Rua vs. Jon Jones, than viewing footage from the classic fights of these competitors? You've seen the young Jon Jones' rise and development in the UFC, and if you were paying attention, you also would've seen his first pro fight posted here recently.

For the light heavyweight champion, you have probably watched how his legacy began in PRIDE all the way until he dethroned Lyoto Machida last May. What most fans haven't seen though, is how the current champion got there. Here is how Shogun's career started out in Brazil.

A year before he ever stepped in PRIDE's legendary ring, a 20-year-old 'Shogun' started his MMA career against a fellow Brazilian named Rafael Capoeira. This was nine years ago, on his first professional MMA fight, and yet you can already see a slightly less polished version of that brutal style that made him famous:

After the jump, Shogun's last two bouts in Brazil, against Angelo Antonio de Oliveira and Evangelista "Cyborg" Santos.

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Six months later, he stepped back in the ring for the same promotion, Meca Vale Tudo. This time, against Angelo Antonio de Oliveira:

As he looked very impressive on his first two bouts, the promotion decided to give him a headlining bout and a step up in competition. He was matched up against current Strikeforce welterweight contender, Evangelista Santos, who at the time, was already a 6-year veteran with 10 MMA fights. Here's how his bout against his future Chute Boxe teammate played out:

A month later, Shogun stepped out of Brazil for the first time to enter IFC's light heavyweight tournament in Denver, Colorado. He fought two bouts in one night, but suffered his first career loss on the semi-final round, against future Strikeforce champion, Renato Sobral. He kept active though, and flew to Japan to compete in PRIDE: Bushido 1 less than a month later. The rest, as they say, is history.

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