Former UFC light heavyweight champion Mauricio Rua finally feels ready to hang up his gloves. Having dedicated 20 years of his life to mixed martial arts, the Brazilian has announced - in a conversation with Combate - that his upcoming bout at UFC 283 will be his last one.
Paired up against Ihor Potieria for the January card, Rua believes that the timing feels right to say goodbye, especially since the card will be taking place in his home country of Brazil. However, all the accomplishments ‘Shogun’ has gathered over the last two decades have also made him realize it was the right moment to retire.
“I feel happy about this fight. It’s going to be my farewell and I’m glad it’s going to be in my country, my home. I’m happy, I’m grateful to the UFC for being one of their oldest athletes. I’ve been with them for 15 years, there’s nobody else there who has been with them for that long. I’m grateful for everything. It’s really going to be Shogun’s MMA farewell. I’ve been fighting for 20 years. I started out really young. I’ve been fighting at a high level for many years. I’ve been fighting the best since 2005. I’m an accomplished guy and I thank God for everything I’ve conquered in my career. Because I’m so accomplished, this has made me stop at the right time.”
Although his opponent is 15 years his junior and has an impressive 18-3, Mauricio does not feel worried about the pairing ahead of their fight. In Rua’s opinion, it is the newcomer Potieria who will the most pressure, since he needs to show his worth to the promotion and make a statement when he takes on the veteran.
“I’ve studied him. He’s a southpaw. He’s tall. He likes muay thai. Of course I’m studying him, because that makes a big difference these days. I think the pressure is mostly on him. He has to win. Of course I’m focused on fighting my fight, on winning, but he’s just starting his UFC career. He’s on his way in, I’m on my way out. It’s my last fight, for sure. I’m not so hard on myself anymore. My obligation is just to do my best. That’s how I think.”
Currently on a two-fight losing skid, Shogun (27-13-1) has lost rematches to Ovince Saint Preux and Paul Craig in his most recent outings. The 41-year-old’s last win dates back to July 2020, when he scored a split decision win over Antonio Rogerio Nogueira in their trilogy bout.
Now, Rua is expected to take on Potieria at UFC 283, on January 21, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The card is scheduled to be headlined by a light heavyweight title fight for the division’s vacant belt, between former champion Glover Teixeira and contender Jamahal Hill.