This weekend, in the co-main event of UFC Sao Paulo, former UFC light heavyweight champion and irrefutable MMA legend Mauricio “Shogun” Rua will return to the Octagon. The Brazilian will take on Scotland’s Paul Craig, who has stepped into replace the injured Sam Alvey.
Shogun, now 37, is currently a solid 4-1 in his last five fights, with his lone loss coming against future title challenger Anthony Smith. Despite this recent success, he has confirmed to MMA Fighting that he intends to retire, and retire soon.
He says he has two fights left — he promised his wife and mother.
“My wife and my mom are rough,” Shogun said. “I have two fights left. It’s true now.”
While Shogun plans to retire after two more fights, he acknowledged that his Saturday night showdown with Scotland’s Craig could wind up being his last, too.
“I face every fight I have as if it were my last,” he said. “I don’t know if there’s going to be another one after Paul Craig, so this is how I see it right now.”
For Shogun, it all seems to amount to when he feels like stopping. He has proven everything he needs to prove, and is financially comfortable.
“People keep asking me why I don’t stop fighting,” Shogun said. “I’ll stop when I want to stop. I’m the only athlete to win the UFC and PRIDE titles. I’m in the UFC Hall of Fame, and I’m financially set, so I’ll stop when I want to stop.
“I’ll stop when I don’t have the same physical condition and the same reflexes. I don’t mind the questions, but that’s too personal, you know? I still do great in sparring.”
The 37-year-old legend concluded by arguing that 37 is not, in contrast, all that old for a fighter.
“I don’t think I’m too old for this,” he said. “I’m young, I’m 37. Demian (Maia) is 42 and just reached his prime recently, (and) same for (Fabricio) Werdum. ‘Jacare’ (Souza) is 40. There are a lot of fighters around that age still doing well, and I’m younger than them. I know that if I stop now, I might regret in a few years. So I’d rather fight a bit more and then stop for good.”
What do you think Shogun will accomplish in this final chapter of his career?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 11/14/2019.