During his stint in PRIDE FC in the early to mid-2000s, Mauricio Rua was a force to be reckoned with. But like many fighters who have gone through such wars, the “Shogun” of today is a far cry from what he was, even just eight years ago when he won the UFC light heavyweight title.
Shogun is now slated to face a younger top prospect in Volkan Oezdemir at the UFC’s Fight Night event in Chile on May 12th. It is a fight that Oezdemir is taking seriously, as he still deems his opponent as a legit threat in the UFC’s light heavyweight division.
“‘Shogun’ is still ‘Shogun,’” Oezdemir said on a recent MMA Hour appearance (via MMA Fighting). “He’s been into wars, he’s not afraid of anything. So he’s still a dangerous fighter, definitely.”
Apart from being a long-time fan, Oezdemir also believes that Shogun is actually ahead of him in terms of getting a title shot, which is why taking the fight was a sensible move for him to make.
“He’s like the guy who has the most winning streak in the division, so actually he’s the real deal right now. And I think he’s closer to a title shot [than I], so it makes perfect sense for me.”
The 36-year-old Rua (25-10, with 21 wins by stoppage), is currently on a three-fight win streak. He last fought last March in Fortaleza, Brazil, where he knocked out Gian Villante late in the third round.