On Saturday, we all bore witness to the collapse of one of the sport’s icons. Mauricio “Shogun” Rua was forced to tap to strikes in the second round of his UFC 255 main card fight against Paul Craig.
That right there was hard to watch. Granted he was injured mid-bout, but seeing a fighter who once brought an unmatched level of intensity into the ring submit to punches like that was both unreal and disappointing.
So in the attempt to wash off the bad taste it left in our mouths, I thought it’d be fitting to look back on an era of Shogun’s career when his star shone the brightest. That, of course, was when he decimated the opposition during his PRIDE years in the bigger part of the 2000s.
Exhibit A: Hiromitsu Kanehara and the stomps of death
You’ve likely seen clips of this fight as part of Shogun’s career highlights. But if you watched the entire thing unfold when it happened, you’ll remember how much of a one-sided beating this was.
Exhibit B: The Alistair Overeem beatings
Unlike Kanehara, Alistair Overeem showed more poise and control against Shogun. He even won a lot of the grappling exchanges. But that discussion easily becomes irrelevant with the manner in which both fights ended.
You can watch them here and here, but below are the highlights.
Exhibit C: The soul-taking of Quinton “Rampage” Jackson
This one’s my favorite of them all. It was the fight that established Shogun as a legitimate threat in PRIDE’s middleweight division.
Also, Rampage’s post-carnage face said it all.
Among all of Dana White’s retirement calls for fighters, this is probably the one that I agree with the most. Indeed, the Shogun Rua of today is merely a shell of the destroyer that he once was. But thanks to YouTube, we can all turn back the clock and relive these glory days even for just a few moments.
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