Pay back’s a B****! We’ve all heard the old adage before, but Mauricio “Shogun” Rua is using the mantra as motivation for his triumphant return to glory.
Prior to putting former champ Lyoto Machida to sleep in the 1stRound of their UFC 113 rematch, many wondered if Shogun would ever recapture the mojo he had during his heydays in PrideFC. Although the Brazilian never held a major title, most considered him the planet’s best light heavyweight, even topping then-champs Chuck Liddell (UFC) and Chute Boxe teammate Wanderlei Silva (Pride).
Rua made his highly anticipated Octagon debut against Forrest Griffin at UFC 76 in September 2007. Unfortunately, Shogun was firing blanks as it was clear in the 3rdRound submission loss that Rua’s surgically repaired knee wasn’t quite right.
By the time he went under the knife for a second procedure, the haters had already started pouring dirt on Shogun’s career.
“That was very tough and people were criticizing a lot, but I took that as motivation because I worked so hard. When I (was) going through that type of criticism, I tried to think that somebody has to pay the bill,” Shogun said. “Somebody has to pay for what I’m going through, so I tried to do that in my fights and pay back when I’m fighting.”
Although it wasn’t his debt that needed to be squared away, Machida paid dearly for the ire Shogun felt towards his detractors. When the opportunity presented itself to finish on Saturday, Shogun came out with guns blazing.
“For this fight, I knew him better, so I tried to exploit him and to take more risk, take chances and go to finish the fight,” Shogun stated. “When I connected with the overhand right punch standing up, I already noticed that he was going out, and then I took the opportunity to keep punching him on the ground until the referee would stop it.”
UFC president Dana White was completely fascinated with what he saw from Shogun in Montreal. At the very least, his new 205-pound champion provided Zuffa, LLC with its first spectacular main event finish in its last four pay-per-view shows.
“Sometimes there’s only that one opportunity in a fight to end (it) and some of these guys take it and go after it,” said White. “Shogun is the man. Beating a guy like Machida the way he did in the 1stRound, I don’t even know the word to explain that.