Note: I'm Xposting this for HeadKickLegend.com Writer James Dalgarno. After Ninja's retirement, we felt it was as good a time as any to reflect on one his most classic fights. Come over to HeadKickLegend and read my exclusive interviews with Jorge Santiago and Mark "Fight Shark" Miller.
It’s time again for Classic K-1 Fights! Every week I will write about a classic Kickboxing or JMMA fight as well as post a video for readers to watch. The goal is to make people aware of the great fights and fighters that make these sports so enjoyable. This week we pay homage to the career of Murilo "Ninja" Rua, who announced his retirement earlier this week. Without further delay, I present Murilo Rua vs. Dan Henderson from Pride 17.
Earlier this week, Murilo "Ninja" Rua announced his retirement from mixed martial arts after losing a bout to Tom Watson at BAMMA 6. This brought to an end the sometimes tumultuous, but always exciting career of the "original" Rua, elder brother to the more famed Mauricio "Shogun" Rua. That being said, many forget that before Shogun’s time Murilo was a highly touted fighter who was seen as the future of Pride’s middleweight division. While not statistically the most successful fighter (Ninja’s career record is 20-12-1), Rua was always entertaining, utilizing his expertise in both Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to score 8 career knockouts and 10 submission victories.
Murilo Rua was signed to Pride Fighting Championships in 2001, after going undefeated through his first six professional fights. In his debut at Pride 16, Ninja continued his winning ways by knocking out Daijiro Matsui with a signature Chute Boxe soccer kick. This impressive display convinced the powers that be that Ninja was ready for a step up in competition; and that’s exactly what they gave him when they matched him up against Dan Henderson at Pride 17. Hendo was on quite a tear of his own, losing only once in his first 12 fights while racking up championships in both the UFC and Rings. Whoever won was going to be further thrust into the spotlight by Pride, putting them firmly near the top of their division.
Fight breakdown and final thoughts at HeadKickLegend.com