August 13, 2013 at 1:33pm
Mauricio Rua, better known as "Shogun", has always been a fan favorite and it is easy to see why. He was an absolute wrecking machine in Japan when he fought under the Pride banner. But what once was in Pride, hasn't exactly been the same sine entering the UFC.
Shogun will face Chael Sonnen in his next bout. Many may know Sonnen for his intense trash talk, and many may know him for being the man to come within one round of dethroning Anderson Silva. Either way, Chael is a fighter that has a suffocating style. There is no feeling out process, there is no stalling. Sonnen in on his opponents from bell to bell. Driving fighters into the cage, taking them down, and grinding them out. Sonnen has also shown that he can keep this frenetic pace going for an entire fight.
This is where Shogun's key to victory comes in. This fight is going to rely heavily on which Shogun shows up come fight time. Since joining the UFC ranks, Rua has left a lot to be desired for many fans, and most of this comes from one aspect of fighting, and that is cardio. Shogun has fought ten times under the UFC banner, with seven of those fights lasting past the opening round. Out of those seven fights, Shogun has arguably ran out of steam early in at least four of those fights, while not looking overly impressive in the others. If you take a look back at the Mark Coleman fight, or the Brandon Vera fight or the Jon Jones fight, you will see a totally gassed lumbering version of Shogun Rua. The same could be argued for the Dan Henderson fight, the Alexander Gustafsson fight and the first Forrest Griffin encounter.
Rua has all of the skills that would allow him to have his hand raised, but Shogun fans should be at least a tad bit worried when you have a fighter such as Sonnen coming in against a Shogun Rua that has been having cardio issues for the better part of a decade now.
Come fight time, expect to see the Shogun that showed up against Brandon Vera get grinded out, or expect to see the Shogun that was taking people's heads off in Pride reign victorious once again.