It will be Mauricio Rua’s third and last opportunity to knock out longtime rival Antonio Rogerio Nogueira when they meet on Saturday night. After defeating ‘Lil’ Nog’ twice via unanimous decision in the past, ‘Shogun’ now hopes he will be able to finally put his fellow PRIDE veteran away in their trilogy bout.
In an interview with Ag Fight, Shogun says he is still motivated to face Nogueira for the third time, despite having already defeated Rogerio twice before. The way Mauricio sees it, the first two fights were thrilling stand-up battles, so the expectation of having another banger ahead of him makes Rua excited to take on Lil’ Nog again.
“I took the fight because it motivates me,” Rua said. “I know he wanted this fight. I know he really wants to beat me, but so do I. I think it’s going to be a good fight, just like the two we had before. He likes to strike and so do I, so it’ll be just what the fans enjoy. I hope it’s a great fight. Everyone who knows me know I always go for the knockout and so does he.”
After 32 fights and 19 years dedicated to mixed martial arts, Nogueira will hang up his gloves after his trilogy with Shogun, no matter the outcome. For Rua, it is flattering to be a part Antonio’s legacy, but promises that factor will not make him fight any differently than before. Mauricio guarantees that there is no extra pressure coming in to the third fight.
“It’s his career, he’s the one retiring,” Rua said. “I’m flattered to be a part of his career from beginning, middle and to the end. He sure is a legend and will always be remembered by all MMA fans. He’s going to be focused on everything he trained. I don’t think the pressure thing really changes that much.”
Mauricio Rua (26-11-1) first defeated Antonio Rogerio Nogueira in at PRIDE Critical Countdown, in June 2005, via unanimous decision. The pair met again at UFC 190, in August 2015, and the outcome was the same. Most recently, Shogun fought Paul Craig to a split draw, in November 2019. The 38-year-old’s last victory happened in December 2018, when he knocked out Tyson Pedro.
Now, Mauricio Rua is expected to take on Antonio Rogerio Nogueira at UFC Fight Island 3, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, on July 25. The card is scheduled to be headlined by a middleweight bout between former champion Robert Whittaker and contender Darren Till.
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