Shogun Firing on Empty

Written by Tom Ngo
January 19th, 2009

This past weekend’s UFC 93 event taught MMA fans quite a bit. The middleweight showdown between Dan Henderson and Rich Franklin was proof that you can never leave your fate in the hands of the judges (30-27 in Franklin’s favor?), and that Mauricio”Shogun” Rua is clearly not the same fighter that he was two years ago.

In what most considered to be a “gimme bout” against 44-year-old Mark Coleman, Shogun looked slow, out of shape and heavy on his feet.

The explosiveness that MMA fans are accustomed to seeing was gone, and for the first time in his young fighting career, his confidence to finish off a fight seemed to wane.

“I stayed sidelined for one year and a half,” Rua stated after the bout. “I went through (two knee) surgeries. That is not easy, and that took a lot of my conditioning. It’s one thing to train and another thing to fight. When you get back to fighting, you have to get back your rhythm. I paid a price for that, but I’m sure that by my next fight, I’ll be more prepared and in better shape, with better conditioning, to give my fans a great show.”

The Shogun that was on display Saturday appears light years away from being the world’s best 205-pound fighter, a title that he convincingly held just two years ago.

Although it was the worst performance of his career, Shogun still won via 3rdRound TKO, taking his record to 17-3 overall. After the win, the organization wasted no time in assigning him his next opponent, as he will be facing former UFC light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell at UFC 97 in Canada.

Hopefully Shogun will be rejuvenated and reloaded come March 18th.  His UFC career may be depending upon it.

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