Former champ Rafael dos Anjos defends Shogun after UFC Hamburg, slams “sad” critics

Rafael dos Anjos, Colby Covington

On Sunday evening, in the headlining bout of UFC Hamburg, former UFC light heavyweight champion Mauricio “Shogun” Rua returned to the cage opposite Anthony Smith, a fresh new light heavyweight contender who stepped in to replace Volkan Oezdemir on short notice. Unfortunately, this fight did not go as planned for the MMA legend Shogun, as he was promptly knocked unconscious by a vicious volley of strikes from his opponent.

In the wake of this knockout loss, Shogun has implied that he’s not done fighting yet — that “life continues,” even after setbacks of this kind. 

In the eyes of many members of the MMA community, however, it’s time for the legend to retire.

According to Shogun’s countryman Rafael dos Anjos, who is also a former UFC champion, any criticisms of Shogun’s performance in Hamburg are unwarranted.

Dos Anjos leapt to Shogun’s defense on Twitter post-fight, speaking in his native Portuguese.

“Sad to see some fans criticizing [Shogun Rua] for [his] fitness or performance,” dos Anjos said in his first Tweet on the matter. “[They neglect to mention] that 15 years ago this crazy guy was kicking everyone in Pride and still kicks a lot of people. The guy had a bad day at work. Shogun is a legend!”

“Let’s make a simple comparison before criticizing,” Dos Anjos said in a second Tweet. “Tell me a soccer player, which theoretically is a sport much less traumatic than MMA, that plays [at] a high level for 15 years [like Shogun]?”

Shogun’s tough loss to Anthony Smith marks the end of a three-fight streak. This streak was composed of decision wins over Corey Anderson and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, and a knockout of Gian Villante. He’s now 25-11 overall.

What do you think the future holds for Shogun after his UFC Hamburg knockout loss to Anthony Smith? Is Rafael dos Anjos correct in assertion that fans should hold off on criticizing the Brazilian MMA legend?

This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 7/23/2018.