Shogun Rua has explained his reasons for wanting to fight Antonio Rogerio Nogueira a third time, despite already beating him twice.
Shogun has already picked up two victories to his name against Nogueira, but he still remains excited about their third showdown. They are scheduled to collide in the light-heavyweight co-main event of UFC on ESPN 14 this weekend on Fight Island in Abu Dhabi.
Their first matchup took place during the PRIDE middleweight Grand Prix Quarterfinal in 2005 where they went to war in a classic. Shogun ultimately claimed the unanimous decision victory. They then faced off 15 years later at UFC 190 in 2015. Again, Rua took home the unanimous decision win after three rounds, and also earned the “Fight of the Night” bonus.
With fifteen years since their first clash and retirement around the corner, their trilogy fight opens up the possibility of vindication for Nogueira and the opportunity to exit the game on a high.
“This fight will probably be the last fight of my career, my farewell fight,” Antonio Rogerio Nogueira said to MMA Fighting. “So being able to have this rematch with Shogun is both challenging and motivating. I thank Shogun for giving me this opportunity. I’m sure we’ll put on a great fight again.”
In his last fight in May, Nogueira experienced a first-round knockout loss against Ryan Spann. Shogun is aware of the high stakes for his opponent and credits their rivalry for being a key factor throughout his career.
“Yes, it’s crazy,” Rua said to reporters at a UFC on ESPN 14 media day. “I fought Nogueira (at) the start of my career, the middle and the final. I’m happy because Rogerio is a legend of the sport, and I know this fight motivates him, but for me, too, and I’m very happy for this fight.
“It’s exciting for me because I know Nogueira wants this fight, and I know he told Dana White, ‘I want Shogun again’ because this motivates him for me.”
In his last two wins, Shogun used his power to seal the TKO victories against Tyson Pedro and Gian Villante. He intends on doing the same against Nogueira for their third meeting.
“We’re both fighters that are looking for knockouts every time.” Shogun said. “He fights aggressively standing up, I fight aggressively standing up, so naturally our styles match in this way, and it opens up and tends to be an exciting fight all the time, and I think that’s what we’re going to be looking for again.”
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